Must Taste: Scarpetta’s Porchetta Sliders

Is this the best happy hour deal in the city?

When people talk about Scarpetta, the Beverly Hills’ outpost of Scott Conant’s Italian restaurant, they talk about spaghetti. They talk about languid noodles, swirled in a simple tomato sauce, plated in a small bowl, the neat mess towering over its lip, waiting for a fork and a spoon. But these people, they’re missing something.

They’re missing porchetta. New to Scarpetta’s happy hour are a trio of porchetta sliders that must be tasted. The pork roullade was developed in the central Italian city of Ariccia (near Rome) and is also well known in the Lazio region. It’s made from local pigs and stuffed and brined and roasted and then, finally, sliced, and plated. At the bar at Scarpetta, order a drink, yes, from Rob Floyd and Jason Sorge. The one with the Japanese peach lets you make a wish; the Noce comes with a side of caramelized pecans. But then, before you get too tipsy, order the sliders. Even when they bring out herbed potato chips and spiced almonds—order the sliders. Even when you become tempted by the lobster croquettes or the mascarpone ravioli—order the sliders.

Three will come on a wooden board, lined up like soliders next to a colorful assortment of house-made pickles. When they arrive, you might be busy chatting with the cute bartender, or that pretty lady on the next stool, but pay attention: these are more than the sum of their parts. Tender morsels of meaty pork, dressed up with salsa verde and pickled shallots fill a saucy little brioche bun. They’re rich, like the Montage Hotel itself, and yet…  they’re a steal: At $8 for the platter (on the bar menu between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.), this is the best deal on porchetta in town.

As a fancy lady sitting nearby said, “They’re cheaper than valet!” Scarpetta at the Montage, 225 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-860-7970