Venice: Checking Out Scopa Italian Roots for Heros and Cocktails
There are only a few places that make me wish I live on the West Side. The new Scopa Italian Roots is one such place. Opened by Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix, they teamed up again with Chef Antonia Lofaso (Black Market) to bring Italian food to this stretch of Washington.
The space was originally a Sichuan restaurant which I actually went to over 10 years ago. The new restaurant is amazing with a very warm and friendly vibe. The early evening hours are filled with young families and the evening stretches into an industry feel as many of the nearby restaurants close early and their staff files in. Scopa is open until 2 a.m.
I went to check out the cocktails but we couldn’t resist a bite or two.
A must order is the delicate housemade ricotta. Chef Antonia said it’s her ideal dish with the soft cheese and beautifully charred bread. I think this is a great dish to share with a table of four. The two of us had to stop eating it to save room for the other dishes.
Scopa has been opened for about a month and already the Bullocks Wilshire is as iconic as its name taken from the now defunct department store. My memories of going to this store include a tantrum I threw when my mom tried to get my ears pierced here. I didn’t get my ears pierced until many years later and from a somewhat shabby jewelry store I sneaked out to on my own– I wish I had gotten them at Bullocks Wilshire! But now I can have this drink to reminisce about those good old days. It’s my favorite kind of cocktail; brown, bitter and stirred.
Bullocks Wilshire – bonded bourbon, 8-year Demerara rum, Cynar, maraschino,
We had both the Kushi and beau soleil oysters sent out by Scopa. I thought it was really cool the oysters sat on pebble ice. I can imagine swinging in for some oysters and a drink before hitting Sunny Spot next door or getting a drink there and having dinner at Scopa. Either way, it’s a nice mini bar hop.
I would say the Barbados Cocktail #1 is a strawberry daiquiri. A delicious one at that. It’s a nice opening cocktail. I also really enjoyed the Robber Baron in the same refreshing boozy vein.
Barbados Cocktail #1 – Barbados rum, strawberries, lime, sugar
Robber Baron – Green Chartreuse, lemon, sugar
Scopa makes all its pasta in house except for the chitarra. I didn’t know that at the time of ordering or else we probably would have ordered a house made pasta. However, I wasn’t disappointed by the chitarra with pecorino and black pepper. The pasta strands were toothy to pick up all that glorious sauce. Chef Antonia said she cooks down the rinds of two different kinds of cheeses to make the sauce, a trick she learned from her grandmother.
My friend ordered the West Side and I had taken a cautious sip because although I like cucumber, I tend to not like it in drinks since it tends to overpower. But not the West Side. It’s perfectly balanced and also a treat to look at.
The West Side – vodka, orgeat, cucumber, mint, lime, Angostura
We tried both the hot and cold heroes on the menu. Under the cold antipasta, the Italian hero stood out because I have a weakness for Italian cold cuts. Scopa uses great bread and it’s a great sandwich to much on at the bar. We talked to Chef Antonia about possibly a bar-only menu and I said this hero definitely needed to be on it.
I admit I am a lover of pork so while I liked the meatball sub, I felt the meatballs would have been better with a little pork. The meatballs are all beef like how Chef Antonia’s grandmother made them. At Black Market, she uses a mix of meat for her meatballs there. Scopa’s hero is much lighter though so it’s probably more manageable if you wanted a light meal.
I’d love to come back to try the amaro cocktails including the Perrismo (mezcal, sweet vermouth, Amer Sauvage) and the veal chop is calling my name.
© The Minty 2013