The buzz about the much-speculated-upon (but little confirmed) soon-to-open Scarpetta restaurant is mounting. But even today, on the apparent cusp of its unveiling (opening day will not be confirmed), ain’t no one spilling much in the way of detail.
The flagship restaurant of the Thompson Toronto hotel, whose tony Wellington St. W. address represents Thompson’s first location on non-U.S. soil, Scarpetta is a balm to the übercool in pursuit of decadent novelty.
The 150-seat space (an outdoor dining area adds another 50, seasonally) will be shepherded by Scott Conant, one of those celebrity chefs who cut his public teeth on Food Network shows like Top Chef and Chopped, and already has a James Beard award in his trophy case. Conant currently wields his high-end Italian foodie ethos in two restaurants in New York, an ironic detail considering that it’s to this metropolis that Thompson so famously lured Toronto superstar chef Susur Lee a few years back.
The original Scarpetta is in New York’s trendy meatpacking district, natch, where it’s long enjoyed a reputation for serving some of the city’s best Italian food. A second Scarpetta operates out of Miami’s famous Fontainebleau Hotel.
Both of Toronto’s predecessors were included on Travel + Leisure magazine’s “50 Best New US Restaurants” list in 2009.
As for the kind of fare Toronto diners can expect on the local menu, promoters are mostly mum, but concede to “soulful, seasonally inspired Italian dishes” that “offer fresh ingredients and clean, earthy flavours.” Among those confirmed, find Conant’s signature polenta with fricassee of truffled mushrooms, spaghetti with tomato and basil, and capretto with rapini, pancetta and potatoes. That’s baby goat, to the uninitiated.
Beyond that, the anticipated eats are anyone’s guess. “We need to sit inside the space, throw some opening parties and see what people want,” Conant has apparently said.
We await the invitations.