gltsoi (gltsoi) wrote,

Scampo, Boston

My list of restaurants to try in 2009 is quickly dwindling - there are only 2 left! We knocked Scampo off the list this weekend with Mj and Brian. Scampo is in the Liberty Hotel, a beautiful $150 million renovation job of a former jail. The hotel is visually stunning; it is somehow still reminiscent of the former prison, and yet looks nothing like a jail.


We started with light, airy yet crunchy breadsticks with a fava bean puree. On Fridays there is a suckling pig special, but by 9:00pm, they were out of it. The menu is divided in to sections of: Homemade bread, Starters, Pizza, Mozzarella bar, Spaghetti, Handmade Pastas and Risotti, Main Plates and Sides. The four of us share a mélange of dishes from the whole menu. We had:


Ciccio – It was a thin, tender bread with 2 kinds of cheese melted and sandwiched in between with truffle oil. Okay, Lydia Shire, call it whatever you want, but I recognize a quesadilla when I see it, a tasty quesadilla, but a quesadilla all the same.


Salt and pepper short ribs – I liked the short ribs, but it was a strange dish as it was much more Asian than Italian. The rib was cut in the Korean style (a cross section of the ribs), it was served with a fresh spring roll and the spices used were Asian.


Mozzarella with beef carpaccio – I liked the beef, I didn’t love it. The mozzarella was creamy and delicious.


Spaghetti with cracklings and hot pepper – This was delicious. I want to tuck in to a giant bowl of this at the end of a hard day.


Parsnip gnocchi with chicken livers – The gnocchi was tender and fluffy and the parsnip cubes were a nice addition. The general feeling was that the chicken livers did not go with the rest of the dish. I, personally, love chicken liver with anything.


Kurobuta pork chop – Kurobuta is the porcine equivalent of Kobe in Japan. The pork is lusciously fatty and full of flavor. The pork chop was delicious, but it was served with an avocado and pea guacamole and salsa. Again, not my idea of Italian.


We ordered two sides: soft polenta and broccoli rabe. I really enjoyed both, although the extreme bitterness of the rabe would probably put off 90% of the population. The polenta was a lovely, creamy and rich counterpoint to the rabe.


In an effort to not replicate the dessert overload of the previous week, we only ordered 3 desserts: crème caramel, molten chocolate cake in a cup and a cookie plate that included pistachio biscotti, chocolate chip cookies, almond macaroons, coconut macaroons, brown sugar cookies and gingersnaps. The chocolate cake was outstanding; it was served with a scoop of white coffee ice cream that heightened all the flavors in the dessert. The crème caramel had the appropriate texture and was a respectable version of the dish. The cookie plate was a disappointment. I would say that my chocolate chip, ginger molasses, and coconut macaroons are far superior to Scampo’s. I also feel that if you offer a cookie plate, the cookies should be warm. Most of the cookies suffered from a dryness factor. I think the almond macaroon was the best in the bunch.


Our service was stellar, and R was very happy that when he ordered milk, he got a choice of whole milk or 2%.


I think that if I thought of the restaurant as Global cuisine with an emphasis on Italy, I would have been better prepared for the Asian short ribs, the Mexican pork chop and the quesadilla. I liked all the dishes; it just was not what I expected. We elected to skip the pizza, so I sense that we will be back soon for that and some suckling pig goodness.

Tags: boston, italian, restaurant review
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