Best New Restaurant No. 6: Scarpetta

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Photograph by Jessica Boone

The large windows look onto the hedges of a public garden. The maître d’, smart in a tattersall shirt and tapered suit, sizes you up without dropping the welcoming smile. This could be Laurent on the lower reaches of the Champs-élysées, but you’re at Scott Conant’s rustic Italian outpost in Beverly Hills. One of Conant’s greatest strengths is his ability to do high renditions of simple Italian fare without ruin-ing the food’s inherent poetry. Spaghetti with tomato sauce is lent an austere beauty, the al dente strands coiled into a skein, the sauce suffused with a buttery mellowness that marks the season’s end. Polenta is served peasant style in a soup bowl, but a cuff-linked waiter spooning wild mushrooms onto it from a burnished casserole transports the dish from country to city. The food—down to the moist olive oil cake—feels so personal, you’d hardly know there were Scarpettas in Miami, Toronto, New York, and Vegas as well. » 225 North Canon Drive // Beverly Hills // 310-860-7970 or montagebeverlyhills.com

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