This might be my first review of a location where I’ve visited in its past life (RIP Osso Bucco). To further compound, only in NYC could you almost go to the wrong restaurant due to your memory being slightly off – because we not only have Scarpina (where we were going) butt also a Scarpetta. Sheesh.
My friend had bought a special which was poorly phrased through a separate specials vendor, so we arrived to find that it had actually expire. Even though it wasn’t their fault, the restaurant was overly generous and offered to help us out a bit, taking a percentage off of the bill.
The restaurant is classified as Mediterranean, but mostly focused on Latin tapas. We started with the guacamole, which was served with fresh plantain chips. I’d never had the two paired, but it worked. Portion size was pretty decent and is enough for sharing.
I was most interested in the lobster quesadilla, self-admittedly having a quesadilla problem and yet never seen a lobster one on the menu. The quesadilla was interesting, comprised more of a crunchy flatbread bordering on tostada-style crunch rather than the usual tortilla. It was actually a combination of lobster and shrimp (along with cheese, of course).
My friend had their buffalo style shrimp for the same reason. Our server cautioned it was spicy. Good! Glad to see spicy meaning something on a menu. Even though it was an appetizer, the bowl contained a generous amount of large shrimp.
Since we’d done small plates, we though it was fitting to splurge on dessert. The ricotta cheesecake sounded intriguing, as did their chocolate mousse cake (until I watched it go by and saw it was on the small side). I could tell from the way she read the menu (nothing written – only orally recited) that our server had preferences among the choices. When I asked her, she emphatically recommended the tiramisu – interesting considering what we’d had for our prior orders. The desserts seemed more … Italian? Regardless, the tiramisu was great. The flavors were subtle – not overwhelmingly espresso-y and the cream was light and fluffy. Sometimes I enjoy the espresso to be more prominent. It’s a shame that those who don’t like coffee won’t know this tiramisu is safe.
Scarpina – 88 University Place (at E12th Street) – 212.645.4525