Sleek and Savory
Deborah Wilk -- Interior Design, 3/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Deceptively simple ambrosia, spaghetti with tomato and basil is the signature plate at Scarpetta, a New York dining destination that owes its cult status not only to chef Scott Conant's cuisine and celebrity clientele but also to a dazzling design program by S. Russell Groves. He describes it as "the sophistication of urban Milan meeting the comforts of a Tuscan farmhouse."
In the front of the 2,300-square-foot space, oak takes on two personae, distressed in the café and ebonized for the bar. The bar's counter, which glows under pendant fixtures of bubbly, mirrored faux mercury glass, is polished Calacatta gold marble, like the floor. To enter the dining room, walk through a passage lined with subtly backlit panels; they're clear glass sandwiching butternut veneer. "The light that streams through accentuates the knotholes and texture," Groves says. In the dining room, contrasts abound between whitewashed cork, dark-stained oak, and rusty-brown leather, the latter used for the straps that appear to hold the mirrors up. A glimpse of a noteworthy neighbor adds just the right spice to a great dish.