The Dirty Apple, By Juliana Rodriguez

Ambiance

Scarpina- Mediterranean cuisine with an Italian flare; it’s nice to experience a non Asian fusion restaurant in NYC.  We were seated at the window, great spot for people watching with all the Union Square foot traffic.  The inside was a dimly lit, very cozy and romantic ambiance.

First course


We started our meal with the lamb tacos and crispy calamari salad. I was impressed with the portion size. This alone could have been my meal, in fact I wish I could have this salad for lunch today.  The lamb was deliciously braised, similar to Cuban Ropa Vieja, with a very flavorful red wine reduction surrounding the tender shredded meat.  The pillow of a pita surrounding it was a perfect thick bed, and it was complimented with a subtle creamy tzatziki sauce on top. Heavenly.

My salad was so filling, the honey vinaigrette was perfectly light and not to sweet on top of my crispy calamari and greens.  The feta was rather strong for this light dish, but as a cheese lover it was fine by me.

Service

The service was wonderful!  An attentive wait staff that ensured my wine glass was never empty. It was a pleasure being served by such a friendly staff, truly delighted to have us.

Entrée


The main event had arrived, the waiter hinted that the steak would be small but it was a very decent sized sirloin.  The sides were plentiful, just the right amount of creamy spinach to accent my steak. The fries were double fried to perfection with a hint of cumin that was barely noticeable, but they really hit the mark.  The steak had a rich peppery flavor, right up my alley.  My only negative ounce of criticism would be the well doneness- I asked for it to be cooked medium, and instead, I was brought a seemingly well-done piece of meat.  However, it was still juicy and rather tender considering it was a little over the medium well stage.

Dessert


Finally, the crème brulee arrived.  I didn’t have room for dessert, but I could not resist.  The beautiful ramekin arrived, but I was not sold on the first bite.  After getting the mixture of delicate rich creamy custard and the hard candy topping in my mouth, bite two was a happy marriage.  It was delightful.

Overall

I was pleasantly surprised with Scarpina. The portions were great, food was very good, ambiance was lovely and service was wonderful. Scarpina was worth the price for an overall pleasant dining experience.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Dirty Apples

DEAL ALERT: $55 for a 3-Course Dinner & Bottle of Wine for Two ($146 Value). Click here.