Kirbie's Cravings

Scarpetta (and seeing Tyra Banks)

Sometimes I come across a blog post, and I immediately “have to” go to try out the restaurant. Such was the case when I read gastronomer’s post on her brunch experience at Scarpetta, located in inside Montage Beverly Hills hotel.

I love buffets. I love brunch. And the spread at Scarpetta looked absolutely amazing. I talked to Future Husband (FH) and told him we must go. Immediately. At first he balked at the price.

Yes, it is $68 per person, which seems like a lot for one meal. However, I pointed out to him that he couldn’t think of this in terms of one of our casual quick eats, but rather in terms of our fine dining meals since that is the type of restaurant Scarpetta is. For $68, we could dine to our heart’s content on an array of well-executed dishes, including Chef Scott Conant’s signature spaghetti (normally priced at $24 a plate), a selection of gourmet cheeses from The Beverly Hills Cheese Shop, and desserts created by Executive Pastry Chef Richard Ruskell, who recently won the grand prize on the Food Network’s “Last Cake Standing.”

After some coaxing, the FH came around to the idea and so off we went. We were able to find parking in a lot just a few steps away, where they only charged $3. Which made me immediately wonder out loud, how is it that I have to pay $20 for parking in downtown San Diego, but I can pay only $3 in Beverly Hills?

Scarpetta offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating overlooks a beautiful courtyard and Bouchon (Above is my blurry cellphone picture from our seats). We chose to sit indoors though because it was little bit gusty out. I wanted to take some pictures of the courtyard, but there were wedding photos being taken so I didn’t interfere.

Orange juice and coffee were both included in the price, and soon we were served waters and juice. After our server explained where all the food was situated, off we went.

According to Scarpetta’s website, “Scarpetta Chef Scott Conant opens his kitchen every Sunday for a truly unique and innovative brunch experience.” Now when I read that, I didn’t exactly know what it meant. For brunch, the kitchen is literally opened to its customers. The majority of the food was laid out right in the kitchen. I got such a thrill walking into the kitchen, seeing the chefs hovering about and making food.

I really wanted to take a picture, but I like to be discreet when I take my photos, and it was impossible to be discreet. You can view some great shots on gastronomer’s blog.

As a quick overview of the set up: First, we encountered a table full of pastries which all looked so delectable. There was also a selection of cut fruit. There was a cold seafood bar consisting of oysters, large shrimp and crab claws. Then there were your standard brunch entrees served in hot trays which included pancakes, waffles, french toast, sausage, bacon. One unique thing I noted were the sauces accompanying it. There was a nutella ricotta and mascarpone butter.

There was also some sushi (I was a little disappointed that only tuna and salmon were offered), a few salad dishes. There was a carving station offering both lamb and prime rib. For each cut of meat, you could choose from a section that was more rare or more well-done. There was an omelet station. And finally, my favorite thing of the day, the pasta station.

We got our first plate of food, and sat down to eat. I took some photos, and then, here is where the other part of the title of my post comes in. So as we munched on our food, FH observed “The girl to the right of you is like a Tyra Banks look alike.”

I turned around to see, and after my initial shock, then making sure I wasn’t mistaken, and then taking some calming breaths, I hissed to FH “It is Tyra Banks!”

Since I spend most of my time dining and living in San Diego, it still hard for me to remember that celebrities are live in LA, amongst non-celebrities. I’m still stuck in the thought that they live in their own world and dine at secret restaurants that no one else has the privilege of dining at. Perhaps it’s common, or perhaps we’ve gotten lucky, but it seems every time we venture to LA (unless we are in the SGV area), we see some sort of celebrity. So anyhow, that is  my story on meeting Tyra Banks. I didn’t go up to her. I just sort of watched her out of the corner of my eye throughout the meal. She was there a long time. Two little girls came up and asked for her autograph at one point. FH took a grainy iphone picture of her.

I had my camera, but I didn’t take any pictures of her, only of my food. As I observed to FH at one point, only a food blogger would be more interested in taking pictures of the food than of the celebrity next to him/her.

Okay, so onto some pictures of the food.

My first plate:

Chocolate croissant was flaky, buttery and quite tasty. If I had room I gladly would have wanted another. Crab claws from the cold seafood bar. Lamb which was paired with a very tasty green  sauce, not sure what it was made of (not mint). Ravioli, which was one of the two pasta offerings. And finally, the famous spaghetti.

I’ve never tried Chef Conant’s spaghetti until now. One bite and it fulfilled all my expectations. This pasta was incredible. Normally I wouldn’t stuff myself on heavy carb foods at a buffet, but in this case, once I tasted the spaghetti, that is all I wanted to eat. I want to revisit just so I get endless servings of this addicting stuff.

The noodles are thicker than typical spaghetti noodles, making them perfect for twirling around your fork. They are cooked to a perfect al dente. The sauce is also incredible. Smooth, creamy and a little tangy. This definitely wasn’t the spaghetti I grew up eating. It’s been over two weeks since I dined here, and I have not stopped thinking about the spaghetti. Seriously, not a day goes by when it isn’t in my mind. Incidentally, gastronomer recently posted a recipe for the spaghetti. There are quite a few different versions on the internet, so who knows which one is the true one. The one she posted though looks manageable and easier than the other ones I’ve seen and she gave it positive reviews. I’m definitely going to try it out. I doubt my version will be as good since I won’t have the right pasta, but hopefully it will be close enough to temporarily satiated my cravings.

FH’s plate:

He chose a savory bread with bits of meat wrapped inside. He loved it. He also got the prime rib (with he placed on some raw tuna peeking underneath)t. The ravioli tasted “eh” after digging into the spaghetti. And he got the spaghetti as well.

Another plate:

This time I decided to try out more of the breakfast items. I tried a waffle. It was still very crispy despite sitting out. I mainly got it to try the nutella and mascarpone spreads. Had this been your average buffet, I would have happily had seconds of the waffle. Since there were so many more tasty options, I basically ditched the typical breakfast assortment after this plate to save room for other food.

I couldn’t resist, I got another bread. This time a cute little baguette.

And of course, the spaghetti. Yes again. Because it is that good.

FH’s plate:

He got the custom made omelet. Again, like there other breakfast dishes, it was made well, but it wasn’t spectacular.

Because we had heard such great things about the dessert bar, we wanted to leave plenty of room for dessert.

First, we got a selection of cheeses from The Beverly Hills Cheese Store. We had hoped for some truffle cheese like the one we had at Providence LA, but they didn’t have any that day. However we did get some truffle essence cavier, along with an assortment of cheeses. The cheese was accompanied with a sweet honey.

The dessert is set up in it’s own dark room. You know how much I love desserts. Usually desserts tend to be the worst part of a buffet. I guess the restaurants think that no one will have room for them anyway. I would definitely recommend leaving plenty of room for dessert here because the desserts are definitely a highlight of the brunch.

I was determined to try every dessert. Between FH and I, we were able to split and taste every dessert offered, except for the bite-sized cookies.

This plate consists of a cannoli, fruit tart, raspberry tart, doughnut filled with cream, almond financier, mini macarons, I’m not sure what to call the two desserts in the glasses but they were delicious.

Mini red velvet cupcake

The spoon held a guava panna cotta (I think it was guava. I can’t quite remember anymore, but it ended being one of FH’s favorite desserts).

Two chocolate dessert, both very very rich. The tart had more textures to it, and FH really liked that one.

Tiramasu and a fruit parfait.

A close up of the raspberry tart, fruit tart, and cannoli.

Here are the two I don’t remember again. I believe that the one on the left had some candied nuts, maybe they were almonds, and there was some pudding at the bottom. I remember liking it. I think the one on the right was a mix of fruit and rice pudding.

Donut with cream filling.

Cute little macarons. Since I love macarons so much, I ended up getting a second round of these.

Almond financier. Quite easy to make and simple in taste, but one of my favorite dessert. The little cake was chock full of almond taste. I loved it.

While we ate, a muscian played cover songs. He was actually quite good and Tyra Banks even told him so. I’m sure it made his day. The picture above is my cellphone picture.

The service was impeccable but without being pretentious. Our waters were always refilled, and the waiters put a cloth between me and the water when pouring to make sure no splash would get on me or the table. When we left to get more food, our napkins were always refolded when we returned. New silverware was given to us with each plate we brought back as well. Our server was was friendly and easy to talk to.

We thoroughly enjoyed our leisurely meal. At one point we also caught a glimpse of Chef Conant. We left full and satisfied. Even though FH had been reluctant about going initially, he loved the brunch as much as I did.

Scarpetta- Beverly Hills
225 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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24 comments on “Scarpetta (and seeing Tyra Banks)”

  1. Your recap has won me over. I totally want to go now!!! Now to find someone who wouldnt mind dropping 100 bucks to go. =) Those breads and pastas looked amazing! Glad to Scott C. got his rep with the goods to back it up.

  2. Hello Kirbie! I’m so glad to hear that Scarpetta’s Sunday brunch lived up to your expectations. I’m always uncertain when I post about PR events if paying folks will receive a similar experience. Thank goodness Scarpetta came through. I would’ve felt like an ass if you and FH didn’t have a ball. Whew!

    • I am always a little hesitant with PR event posts too, but I did some research after and saw rave reviews from paying customers, so off we went. We both had such a good time! Now I just need to try making that spaghetti.

  3. What the nom? Looks crazy! My only concern would be that I’m useless at buffets. I never eat enough to make it worth it.

  4. I’ve been hearing how awesome this brunch is but um…truffle essence caviar? YES PLEASE! And those macarons are adorable. I wish they served a garlic cheese croissant to go with the spaghetti. 😉

    That’s it. DEMANDING Husband take us here for our 5th Date-iversary….

    • Heehee. Yes you should go! Funny, the FH was like “we aren’t going back for a long time, we need to save up money for the wedding.” Then he read the post and was like “I really want to go back now…”

  5. thats funny, after reading cathy’s post, it made us not really want to go to scarpetta, realizing you can make that spaghetti at but it all does look great and glad you enjoyed it

    • The buffet did seem more amazing when I didn’t think I could recreate the spaghetti. I’ll have to try to recreate first and see.

  6. Haha, my mom would have made the same complaint. I remember taking her to the Crown Room’s brunch and all she did was load up on meat and seafood with an occassional sweets. I think the price is comparable considering that Hotel Del’s price is around $72.

    • Heehee. I’ve only been to the Hotel Del once for brunch. I remember being so excited by the options but I thought the quality was just so-so. Everything here, I thought the quality was good.

  7. Wow, wonderfully yummy post! Thanks for sharing. $68 sounds like a lot but the breakdown makes it seem worth it.

    • That’s how I justified it. Haha. I think I ate about 1 1/2 plates of spaghetti (so at least $36), the plate of cheese would probably be about $20 or more, the desserts: macarons alone are usually more than $1 each and I had six, and all the other desserts add up as well. Usually when i go buy a bunch of desserts at a french bakery I will spend $30 or more. And then there is all the other food I tried.

  8. $68/pp!!! Wow, ouch, holy moly! I’m trying to remember how much brunch buffet cost at La Valencia and Hotel Del. I’m sure it’s up there too. Did the $68 include mimosas?

    I kept thinking where and how I’ve heard of Scott Conant. Then I googled his name real quick and thought Ahah! “He’s that mean judge on Chopped who hates red onions!” was my first immediate thought…

    I’m one of those low-carb ppl b/c I truly think I had a huge issue w/ carbs 🙂 Like I’d eat it all day if i could. It’s truly telling that his pasta must have been awesome if you went back for seconds in a buffet (b/c true buffet professionals know that we mustn’t fill up on carbs in an AYCE, haha). How did they keep the pasta fresh and warm – was it served in one of those heating things or was it made fresh in front of you?

    So, overall, did you think the $68 was worth the price/experience? Did you feel you got your money’s worth?

    Really wonderful post – makes me want to revisit LA just for brunch!

    • Yes, I ate at the La Valencia and I remember it was around $50 per person and I was soo disappointed. The quality here was so much better.
      You know it’s funny, I thought you would ask me about whether it would be worth it. I think it really depends on what you are looking for in a buffet experience. For instance, I would never take my mom here. She would complain there isn’t enough “expensive” items, and she would expect lobster, more sashimi, etc to be worth it.
      If you really enjoy fine dining and are okay with paying a lot for a dish even if it doesn’t have very expensive ingredients but is really expensive simply because it tastes good and made well, then I think this place is worth it. I really love desserts and the desserts were so good here.
      For me, I love a good bargain and when I go to chinese buffets I do load up on the seafood and such. But I also appreciate indulging on expensive fine dining, and so I’m okay with spending $68 if it’s good food and the quality of the food here I thought warranted the price. Plus, if you think about it, $24 a plate of spaghetti normally, croissants are usually $2-3, gourmet cheeses are quite expensive too, and so are desserts. So I definitely felt I ate more than $68 of food. No mimosas included, but fresh juice and coffee are.
      For the pasta, they actually have a chef in front of the the pasta, which is warming on a pan. They have it already made and he serves it to you. But they only have a small quantity that sits there, so they are constantly making more so it is pretty fresh.

  9. hi kirbie
    wow, what a great buffet selection! everything looks so good! i don’t know if i could control myself if i went there! 🙂 that’s nice that you and your fiancee were able to go here and enjoy a great meal! and see a celebrity too! 🙂

    • Normally I’m pretty out of control at buffets and eat far too much. Somehow I was able to control myself. Not sure if it is because summer is upon us, or because of the elegant setting, or because I had more meals planned for that evening. We left full but not unpleasantly full.

  10. wow! what a treat.. i would definitely think twice about paying that much for brunch but it looks like it was worth it. everything, especially the desserts look yummy!!

    • It was a nice experience. We wouldn’t go often, but we plan on definitely being back. And I’m pretty sure I got my money’s worth in food with all the desserts I ate and the extra helpings of the famous spaghetti.

  11. Wow, this place looks amazing! And it’s a buffet?! Those plates of desserts look unbelieavable, too. Don’t know what it is, but that cream-filled donut looks delish! A little jealous of you 🙂

    • This was one of the nicer buffet spreads I’ve seen in a while so I was really excited to visit. The donut was good. All the desserts were good!

  12. Lol – I love that first picture of the spaghetti next to the croissant. What a combo!