Scampo has been on my list of Boston restaurants to visit for some time now.
When I got invited to try out their new winter menu I literally jumped out of my seat at the opportunity! A chance to taste Lydia Shire's Italian-inspired dishes? YES PLEASE.
Before I try a new restaurant I love to read about the chefs background and how they got to the current place in their career. I knew that Lydia was a Boston native, a James Beard Foundation honoree, and very good, personal, friends of Julia Child. However, the more I read about Lydia, the more I was intrigued.
Working her way from a salad girl to the chef of Boston's Maison Robert, to opening an array of her own successful restaurants, Lydia cooks food straight from the heart. She is now inspiring her son Alex, one of the chef's at Scampo, to give it his all every day on the job. My favorite advice she has given Alex is, "If you don't have a pit in your stomach almost every day, it means you're relaxing too much. You know, how can you stay in that tip-top form, shape, without that little pit in your stomach? I think it's important."
I visited Scampo with Jaime and although the meal was on the restaurant, all of the photographs and opinions are my own. I apologize in advance for some of the pictures being such poor quality but I always feel bad using my flash when people are trying to enjoy their dinner!
The meal started off with a Fava bean puree with basil oil and toasted pine nuts served with house made bread sticks. The Fava beans had a similar taste to pesto and were delicious!
As we chatted with our AMAZING waiter Michael (Seriously, he was amazing!! So friendly and knowledgeable about the menu), we ordered Lydia's famous Lobster Pizza. It was a thin crust, my favorite, with ton's of lobster meat.
One of the selections on the menu was a house made mozzarella bar. This came highly recommended by Michael. We chose to go with the mozzarella with avocado, king crab and mustard oil. This dish was light and refreshing the the pieces of crab meat were huge.
Another recommendation from Michael was to try a small plate of pasta. Jaime and I chose the 'Spaghetti with Cracklings and Hot Pepper'. It was everything we hoped it would be! Tender spaghetti with crispy pork on top, dusted with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.
By the time the main courses came we were already stuffed. But we knew there was no turning back now - it was too good!
Placed on our table was a veal osso buco with ricotta gnocchi, butter pomodoro and cavolo nero pesto. The meat was so tender it could be cut with a spoon.
This next picture makes me sad. I'm not sure how I didn't realized it was SO blurry at the time. #awfuliphonephotographer
If you can't tell through my blurry lens this plate was of a perfectly cooked piece of chilean sea bass over sweet cabbage lobster risotto topped with crisped shaved brussel sprout leaves.
I don't usually choose sea bass when it's on a menu but I might start now. Light and full of flavor I could eat this every night.
Last, dessert. Somehow there is always room for dessert.
Jaime and I have quite the track record for unbelievable desserts featuring bananas (check out our other two favorite banana desserts here and here). Scampo's winter dessert menu was just launched that day I am happy to say it did not disappoint.
On the left is a banana brown butter tart with fleur de sel caramel, macadamia nut crunch, and coconut ice cream. On the right, Lydia's tiramisu with Tia Maria liqueur and espresso caramel.
Both desserts were extremely tasty but that banana tart was definitely my favorite of the two. How can you ever go wrong with brown butter? You can't. It was unlike any other dessert I have tried thus far and left me wanting to go back to enjoy again.
We visited Scampo on a Tuesday night and let me tell you, it was PACKED!
While we were enjoying our meal we noticed Lydia standing in the dining room talking with a group of people. Chef's are celebrities to me and I thought it was so cool that she was taking the time to be out in the dining room.
Next thing I know Lydia was walking up to our table. She personally introduced herself to us and spoke with us a little bit about our meal. It was one of my all time coolest culinary moments. IT"S LYDIA SHIRE!!
I can't thank Lydia, Michael, and the team at Scampo enough for such a memorable experience. The experience will not be soon forgotten!