When I finally entered the establishment that I’ve longingly driven by for the past 7 months, I remembered a cliché phrase that I have both loathed and loved: “it’s worth the wait.” If you haven’t been to SCOPA ITALIAN ROOTS yet, you will say the same thing. With high ceilings, exposed brick and a genius seating arrangement, this is a place you could stay all night…a venue complimentary to New York City’s vibey-don’t-wanna-leave-nightery-eateries.
I brought my father as my date who has spent about 7 of the last 10 years residing in the alluring countryside of Florence, Italy. He’s got the right idea…Italian food, in my opinion, is the leading cuisine. Its unprocessed simplicity supported by bread and pasta…I mean…EVERYDAY, please.
That said, we ate bread and pasta and deliciously marinated olives with an orange zest. The Ricotta Crostini was excellent. Homemade soft, light yet creamy ricotta cheese topped with the perfect amount of olive oil, parsley and chili flakes we then spread on perfectly toasted and presented bread. My dad, one who pays a lot of attention to olive oil detail, noticed how perfectly the olive oil dripped on the bread. When he lifted a piece from the plate, there was no oil residue. No excess saturated fat…just the right amount.
Then we ate pasta. Chitarra, a skinnyish round noodle, that lived in an olive oil, pecorino cheese and pepper blanket. Yes, a blanket that you will want to wrap around you as you snuggle into a nostalgic couch. The peppery essence was perfect and not overbearing. This dish will out-satisfy any recent Fettucini Al Fredo cravings that you’ve been squelching and make you crave this instead.
With some cheese, you need some tomato. I always need tomato. That’s why we devoured the Pappardelle, the flat wide and thin pasta covered (with the right amount) by a savory and comforting pork shank, tomato based sauce. This was joined by fresh arugula and a cheesy round goodness of stracciatella on top. Stracciatella is bufala mozzarella and burrata’s spawn. It was stringy in the places you wanted it to be, soft in others and provided a delightful coolness to the cozy warmth of the pasta and pork. Yum. The arugula provided a slight bitterness that was paired well but I could have done without it. Too healthy for that night
Zabaglione closed us out. A simple (yep) dessert made of egg yolk, sugar and Marsala wine. Topped with berries and freshly chopped hazelnuts and a slight drizzle of heaven. It was lighter than you would expect with the right amount of not too sweet.
The downfall? Well, there were only two. One is that some items on the menu are way over-priced for example the Veal Milanese at $49. The pastas and appetizers were priced perfectly but seeing the steep entrée prices might deter from ordering anything but pasta. The wines fell into the same category – expensive without an option. The least expensive bottle came in at $48, jumped to $60 and then continued to skyrocket. This makes ordering the requisite bottle of wine with an Italian meal a little difficult. In addition, there are 4 owners but it seemed that every owner gathered around the host stand and each were accompanied by a host. This created a slightly hectic vibe…one that customers do not want to feel while ooh-ing and aah-ing over mouth-watering delicacies.
This was a delightful experience that I hope will inspire you to venture into this simple and satisfying eatery or any other eatery that you’ve been wanting to try. No Italian regrets here!
Best Bite: Ricotta Crostini, Chitarra, ZabaglioneSCOPA ITALIAN ROOTS – http://scopaitalianroots.com/ 2905 Washington Blvd. Venice, CA 90292 310.821.1100
Review by: Diana Davis-Dyer (fk for life)