Chef Scott Conant, Scarpetta, New York, Miami, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Toronto, D.O.C.G. Enoteca, Canada, United States, NY, FL, Florida, CA, California, NV, Nevada, Italian, Recommendations, Q and A, Recipes





55 West 14th Street

New York, NY 10014 (view map)

T: 212.691.0555 (make a reservation)



Sun - Thu: 5:30pm -11pm

Fri - Sat: 5:30pm - 12am


South Beach


Fontainebleau Miami Beach

4441 Collins Avenue

Miami Beach, FL  33140 (view map)

T: 305.674.4660 (make a reservation)



Sun - Thu: 6pm - 11pm

Fri - Sat: 6pm - 12am


The Strip


Cosmopolitan Resort

3708 Las Vegas Bouldevard South

Las Vegas, NV 89109 (view map)

T: 702.698.7960 (make a reservation)



Sun - Thu: 5:30pm - 11pm

Fri - Sat: 5:30pm - 12am


Beverly Hills


Montage Beverly Hills

225 North Cannon Drive

Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (view map)

T: 310.860.7970 (make a reservation)



Daily: 11:30am - 3pm

Sun - Thu: 5:30pm - 11pm

Fri - Sat: 5:30pm - 12am


Midtown / Uptown


Thompson Hotel Toronto

550 Wellington Street West

Toronto, ON  M5V 2V4

T: 416.601.3590 (make a reservation)



The Strip

Italian / Wine Bar / Coffee Bar

Cosmopolitan Resort

3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South

Las Vegas, NV 89109 (view map)

T: 702.698.7920 (make a reservation)



Sun - Thu: 11:30am - 11pm

Fri -  Sat: 11:30am - 12am


Scarpetta - New York, Miami, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Toronto | D.O.C.G. Enoteca - Las Vegas


Photo Credit: Melanie Dunea

Q & A

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- Chef Rebecca Weitzman, Thistle Hill Tavern


Scott Conant’s recommendations for restaurants in New York, Brooklyn, Miami, Las Vegas, Toronto, Italy and Hong Kong, as well as for drinks, pastas and knives.

Q & A with Chef Scott Conant

Q. Scarpetta is:

A. The idea is that full appreciation of grabbing a piece of bread and sopping up what is on the plate. It’s meant to speak to the overall experience. It’s a casual approach to fine dining. We’re very serious about what we do, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

Q. With Scarpetta now in several locations, including Toronto, Vegas and Beverly Hills, are there subtle nuances that you customize for each city?

A. Yes, I think it’s important when you’re creating something. Scarpetta is not a cookie cutter idea, or concept. I hate to even use the word concept when it comes to Scarpetta, because it insinuates that it’s pasteurized, and it’s not pasteurized. I think it’s important that each one is individual, but it fits within the whole simultaneously.

Q. So how does that translate in each city?

A. New York was the first and the intention was to build this kind of quintessential, West Village restaurant. The ambiance of the place is inherently warm. So I wanted to make sure we capture the atmosphere of what Scarpetta is in New York as we move into these other markets.

So Miami, for example, has a little bit more of a cosmopolitan vibe. It’s more Miami urban, more of a cocktail culture, than a wine culture. It’s a little more glittery and there is more fish on the menu, because of its proximity to the water.

Because Beverly Hills is Beverly Hills, we put a lot more vegetables on the menu. We work with a lot of different farmers in order to get great quality products and really showcase those products.

I think there is an inherent sophistication to dining in Toronto. People expect a little bit more of a fine dining experience at Scarpetta, than they would in New York or Miami or Vegas, for that matter. I was shocked to see how many people were vegetarian in Toronto. We made a conscious effort to dedicate a vegetarian menu that we could carry out to all of  the restaurants.

Q. There seems to be more availability and more sophistication about vegetables.

A. Yes, there is no reason to not be a passionate about a sunchoke as you are a steak. Just doesn’t make any sense to me.

Q. Do you incorporate things on your menu that harken back to your own childhood?

A. I got started in this because of my grandmother. She wasn’t a chef, but that spirit of an Italian grandmother, it just made sense to move in this direction. I think one of the reasons I cook Italian food is because of my family background. I can never turn my back on that.

Q. Let’s talk TV... how has doing television affected your career from a business standpoint?

A. It makes sense from an advertising perspective. I wouldn’t say it’s an insurance policy, because you can never be sure how things are going to work or not work in business. It fills in the blanks with a lot of reservations, but more importantly, it’s a just an advertising platform for everything that I do. So that has become really beneficial for me.

Q. Do you enjoy it?

A. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it. But, if it didn’t go back and help me with the restaurants, I also wouldn’t do it, even if I did enjoy it. What I do first is I have this job as a chef and restaurateur. Secondly, it’s everything that builds that business.

Q. You critique contestants on your show “Chopped.” When you see their faces, does that affect you in any way?

A. My goal is always to be firm, but fair. I made a little deal with myself, if I’m going to do this, I need to be honest. I’m not going to be fake. I can be very firm, but that doesn’t mean I need to be hurtful. I’m never hurtful. I’ve got no skin in your game.

There is an opportunity for me to teach people how to look at things a little bit different. Why did you do that? Is it habit? Is it really the best thing for this product? The only thing I can hope for you moving forward is to be, not to use Oprah’s words, but to be the best you. I’ll help you if you want, but if you don’t want to hear it, I’m fine, it’s all good.

Advice / Tips

Q. You’ve garnered a great reputation for making amazing pasta, so we’d like to get some tips from you. Let’s start with the fresh versus dried question:

A. The fresh versus dried debate always seems to be a very American kind of question, because people seem to think that fresh is always better. It’s not always better. I happen to love dried pasta. If it didn’t take so long, I would probably use it more in my restaurants. Fresh pasta just cooks quicker. Also we can make our own shapes, so the reason we use fresh pasta more often than not is because we get to shape it ourselves, so we get an artisanal quality.

At home, I eat dried pasta all the time. To be honest with you, I’m not going to make my own pasta at home and very few people do.

Q. Which dried pastas do you like?

A. I use a company called Pasta di Gragnano. It’s from Gragnano, which is outside of Naples, and it’s just a really high quality pasta. I like the texture of it, I like the taste and it cooks up al dente really, really well. The flavor of it is really spectacular. You really get that yeast, wheat flavor.

There is another one in New York from Buon Italia, called Setaro pasta. I’m sure there is a lot of stuff available in markets, whether it be Barilla or De Cecco or something like that. I would probably have Barilla before De Cecco, personally.

Q. How about cooking pasta?
A. The thing is that people always ask me is ‘how come you don’t rinse the pasta?’ What is pasta? Pasta is a starch. Why would you rinse off all those beautiful starches? It’s a component of the sauce that you’re then going to toss the pasta in, that starch is going to help thicken that sauce. As the starches are released, the sauce is also absorbed into the pasta.

Normally, what I do is cook the pasta about seventy-five percent of the way in the water, I take it out and I cook it the rest of the way in the sauce. I’ll use the pasta cooking liquid to adjust the sauce to make sure it’s the right consistency.

There are three reasons why this stuff comes together so well in the pan when you’re cooking it:

1) the starches are being released

2) the sauce is being absorbed

3) the emulsion takes place with the starches, the olive oil and the fat.



Q. Is there an olive oil that you love to use?

A. I use a Tuscan olive oil in the restaurants and it’s branded with the Scarpetta label. It’s for sale at the restaurants.

Q. What are some great tools for making pasta?

A. You need a wooden spoon. I can’t imagine walking into a kitchen and not having a wooden spoon. Even to just taste the sauce, or stir the sauce or move the pasta around in a pan. Wood is better than steel, because if you scrape steel on steel, stainless on stainless, metal on metal, that metal is going to rub off and really change some of the flavor inside your sauces or in your food.

I’m a big fan of a cast iron pan. I just love it. The ones that I have are really old and antique and I wouldn’t know what brand it is.

A great knife -  you can get one or two knives in your kitchen and those can be enough for everything. If I travel, I bring a chef’s knife, a serrated knife and a pairing knife. Ninety-nine percent of the time, unless I’m cutting sushi, that should be enough.

[See details.]

Q. Which brand do you like?

A. Global knives are great. I like that it’s one piece. It’s very comfortable and well balanced in the hand. It holds an edge very well. I also really like Henckels.

Q. Is there a great source for Italian products that you love?
A. Buon Italian in Chelsea Market. I love it! I’ve been dealing with them for 22 years now. Before there was a Chelsea Market.

[See details.]



Q. Where do you love to go eat for authentic Italian food in New York?

A. Ferdinando’s Focacceria is awesome. It’s old school, and it’s literally been there for a hundred years. It’s a third generation owner still running the place. I eat Arancini and these little spleen sandwiches, Ricotta Panelle. Traditional Sicilian dishes that are just spectacular.

I love Eleven Madison Park. It’s just one of my favorite restaurants.

I love Aldea as well. [Chef] George Mendes created such an approachable restaurant and he’s really using some avant-garde technique. He’s been able to do it in a way that is approachable for people and not off-putting. He never sacrifices flavor, which is really impressive.

[See details.]


Q. Off the beaten track in Vegas?
A. Lotus of Siam has just such great Thai food. Among the best Thai food I’ve had in this country. Really spectacular.


Q. Where do you go, besides your own restaurant, in Miami?

A. Sra. Martinez - I think Michelle Bernstein’s restaurant is just spectacular. I love it. There is this egg yoke dish with shrimp. It’s like egg yoke carpaccio. Very simple, but it’s so good. You take a piece of bread and make a scarpetto with it. It’s just awesome.

[See details.]


Buca - I go all the time. I love it. They do a lot of their own charcuterie and salumi and stuff like that. Just delicious.

[See details.]


Q. Do you have favorites in Italy?

A. Clandestino Susci Bar - go in the summer in Portonovo. They take a Japanese approach, it’s crudo. Moreno Cedroni is a really well known celebrity chef in Italy and he’s awesome. I really love that restaurant. Like literally sitting with your toes in the sand, candles all over the place on the Adriatic. It’s great.

[See details.]


Q. A few years ago, you shared recommendations for places in Hong Kong, should we include them?

A. Sure.

I loved the Yellow Door. I went for lunch. It is on 6th floor of a residential building, with a cool jazz club downstairs. Really, really good food.

Have afternoon tea at the Tea Room at the Intercontinental, as opposed to the Peninsula Hotel. Although the Peninsula is a ‘must see’ with its fabulous marble interior, I prefer the view of the harbor, which is great from the Tea Room at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Have lunch at the Crystal Palace in Yu Garden. Great dim sum at an amazingly low price.

And lastly... Hong Kong Old Restaurant - it’s just really good.

[See details.]


Q. What Italian wines are you enjoying?

A. I Just bought a case of Bartolo Mascarello - the new vintage 2006 and even though it’s 2006, it is drinking so well. It is so good. It’s a super traditional Barolo, really intense and pure.

[See details.]

Q. Favorite aperitif?

A. Aperol on the rocks, with a touch of soda, that’s what I start with.

[See details.]

Q. Digestif?

A. I love Montenegro. It’s assertive and it’s a great digestif. It literally helps to digest. I love bitter.

[See details.]


Details of Scott Conant’s recommendations for restaurants in New York, Brooklyn, Miami, Las Vegas, Toronto, Italy and Hong Kong, as well as for drinks, pastas and knives.


- Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

- Stracci with Seafood