When a meal is truly amazing, you don’t want it to end. You can likely recall a time when you’ve taken your last piece of bread and soaked up the remains of a delicious sauce — in Italian, the expression for this is “scarpetta,” or “little shoe,” after the shape the bread takes when you turn it into a sauce-sopping tool. This concept is the inspiration for Scarpetta, the cool, classy Italian spot at the Fontainebleu resort on Miami Beach. The idea is that each plate here is the type worthy of that meticulous, sauce-sopping moment at the end of the meal.
Developed by celebrity chef Scott Conant, Scarpetta’s clean, modern decor is the ideal setting for dishes that come with unexpected pairings. It’s a delight to settle into the place’s white lacquered chairs with cozy blue cushions, the palette beautifully mimicking the ocean waters and powdery sands just outside the floor-to-ceiling windows that surround the restaurant. The sounds of pleasant chatter and clinking wine glasses create a soundtrack that could just as easily be the setting in the lively Italian coastal town of Portofino.
Sip a glass of bubbly prosecco over the warm glow of candlelight and share one of the restaurant’s delectable small plates. But be warned: You might find sharing to be a challenge, especially if you order the menu’s braised short ribs of beef with farro risotto. Add a dish of seared sea scallops and roasted fennel for a perfect light companion – with that dish on the side, you’ll feel more generous with the short ribs.
For a rustic starter, order the chestnut soup with roasted root vegetables and apple agrodolce (sweet and sour sauce). This paves the way for the refined duck and foie gras ravioli in a Marsala reduction that begs to be soaked up with a buttery crostini. The fresh primi piatti of raw yellowtail in olio di zenzero (ginger oil) and pickled red onion awaken the palate with a nod to the restaurant’s seaside location.
Whatever your mood, the choices are rich and plentiful at Scarpetta. Though a beachfront resort may not normally be the place where one would indulge in bread and pasta, you avoid the drowsiness that often follows a rich meal with a night of lively dancing at Fountainbleau’s LIV nightclub. Salute to that!