Bars serve an essential function in my life, and that is that they are something I need to approach in order to get wine in my body as fast as possible. Recently, I have started to expand my love of the bar to recognize it as an option for eating; bar seats are less formal than sitting at a table, and allow you to be right in the mix of the action. However, If you are getting jostled and having apple martinis passed over your head this can be less than ideal, but bars are always the perfect option for the solo diner. I have gotten fairly comfortable taking myself out for meals, but I tend to avoid sceney places where I might run into groups of people I know. Needless to say, I tend to avoid dining alone in the Meatpacking District from the hours of 8-10pm. This all changed when I grew some balls and took myself out to dinner at Scarpetta. The bar service was attentive, friendly and knowledgeable, the crowd around was civilized, and there was a real feeling of respect for bar diners. Going to Scarpetta alone was one the smartest decisions I have ever made after two glasses of Whispering Angel at Soho House (yes, I drink it in the winter).
Scarpetta fills up quickly with reservations, so finding a perch at the bar is always a pleasant surprise. As I took my seat and watched the leather placemat get set before me, all I could think about was Chef Conant’s Spaghetti Pomodoro, and how fast I could get it into my face. I skipped a starter because the bread basket is too good to pass up, and the strombolis are the perfect way to get your pallette excited for the flavors to follow. (Did I mention tht I am not afraid of carbs?). The bartender chatted with me when I ordered my Valpoliciella, and later on gave me a little extra pour on him. Scarpetta actually reserves places at the bar for people to eat, but in a nicer way than the Batali joints. I looked around every once in a while to check out the scene, until my food came, at which point I turned my back to the world around me and dove face first into my bowl of Spaghetti Pomodoro, trying to be as dainty as possible but not really caring. This is one of my all time favorite dishes, with the simpleness of the flavors and textures adding up to a dish of pure bliss, the perfect plate of pasta. It was also the perfect size and length for a meal out alone- as much as I love myself, enough is enough some times. Scarpetta is classy enough to draw a crowd (especially earlier) that skews a little more mature than the Kardashian wannabees that regularly flood the MPD, making it the perfect grown up dining option in a part of town that is more concerned with red soles than red sauce. Lack of reservation or dining companions should not keep anyone from experiencing the food at Scarpetta- so I encourage everyone to pull up a stool, and start a convo, unless you are seated next to me.