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Scott Conant Looks Back on Year One of Scarpetta

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Welcome to One Year In, a feature in which Eater sits down for a chat with the chefs and owners of restaurants celebrating their one year anniversary.
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Elizabeth Daniels

Scarpetta is the signature brand fine dining Italian restaurant first opened by chef Scott Conant in New York City three and a half years ago. Since then, Conant has launched locations in Miami and Toronto, last October he brought a branch to the Montage in Beverly Hills, and just about two months later Scarpetta Las Vegas was born. One year and two and a half stars later Scarpetta is still has buzzy as ever, thusly Eater took a chat with Conant to find out how the ship has been sailing, whether more Scarpettas are on the way, and the possibility of a DOCG hitting West Hollywood.

When was the first time you thought about opening Scarpetta in LA? It had been on my radar for a very long time. I would say at least five years.

How was the opening? The opening was wonderful; I met a lot of great people and nurtured a lot of good friendships since.

Did you have to make any changes after the first month? Other than a few menu changes and tweaking, which is inevitable when you open a restaurant, we adhered to our philosophies with a big focus on customer service.

What was the reviews process like? Openings in general are extremely difficult and with the added layer of critics and reviewers, and friends in the industry, makes for great energy and a lot of fun. However, with that energy and fun also comes great stress. Getting everything right on day one is tough.

And how has the restaurant changed over the last year? I think it has become more comfortable for the customers as well as the staff. The Chef de Cuisine, Freddy Vargas, has really come into his own. We utilize the market and amazing products that LA has to offer. We are reaching out to the community in creating relationships with charities. The Montage Hotel couldn’t be more supportive.

Is your LA menu now different than, say NYC? We have a lot of signature dishes that customers frequently come back for, which are the same across Scarpetta Restaurants, but about 60-70% of the menu changes seasonally and those are unique to the specific city.

Does it feel like it's been a year? In some ways, it feels like it opened yesterday and in other ways, I feel like it has always been there. I love LA and I’m always looking forward to spending more time there.

Were you around when Kim Kardashian hosted her rehearsal dinner? Unfortunately, I was vacationing overseas with my family and missed it. I have seen Kim since then and she told me how much she enjoyed the dinner. I appreciate that and always love having her at the restaurants.

What are you working on right now? We’re working on streamlining the restaurants and honing the creative aspects of daily operations as well as focusing on service and a quality experience for the guests.

Any plans for additional Scarpettas? None at the moment.

What about additional LA restaurants? I would love to do a DOCG Enoteca, which is a restaurant that I have in Las Vegas, and bring it to West Hollywood. One day perhaps?
·All One Year In Coverage [~ELA~]

Scarpetta

225 North Canon Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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