Thursday, February 4, 2010

We Sold Our Soul For Skappo

Like the moment Black Sabbath's Greatest Hits finished playing, reverberating in the ear of two awkward seventh grade dudes (Hans and Mendez), Skappo too, has the monumental effect of this is how rock/food SHOULD be. The moment teeth scrape the food from the fork is a moment of excitement. Like that thunderstorm, that thudding bass drum, that immortal riff; our dinner at Skappo announced a brave new world of food.

After a horrible hangover induced by Monster Blood and cured by Monster Energy Drinks, the bloggers Hans and Mendez sat around bloated, yet highly energetic. Mendez was scrubbing the blogcave's bathroom, awakening the raccoons in the shower. Hans vacuumed the ceiling, hands jittering and struggled to hold the vaccuum up by its handle. Satisfied that all dust bunnies were swept, and they themselves worked in a frenzy fueled by the neon drink, they made reservations for Skappo, being in the mood for Italian.

And by Italian, we don't mean how Olive Garden is Italian like Ikea is Sweedish. Skappo is the closest to Italian food that it can be without being across the Atlantic. One word to describe the atmosphere is cozy; long tables for communal seating and a few private tables. Flags of unknown coat of arms are draped from the wall and a guitar amplifier sits in the corner. The Friday evening Hans and Mendez went, reservations were surprisingly unneeded. They were sat at a private table without being asked about the reservation or why they where both dressed in chaps and ten gallon hats (confused by Monster energy drinks and Spaghetti Westerns they thought that this was how all mainland Italians dressed). Hans, neurotic, overdressed and itching to wash his hands for the fourth time after touching a knife with his pinky wanted to assure the staff that New Haven Eats It did not burn the reservation. Mendez assured him that the anonymity of the walk-in seating allowed them to eat without signing head shots.

They ordered three dishes, an appetizer and two entrees. When instructing the waitress that they wanted to share the dishes she sort of rolled her eyes. "Everyone does," she said. Hans and Mendez also ordered a class of wine each: an Italian blend of Syrah and Sangiovese for Hans, Nero D'Avolo for Mendez. Both wines were delicious and fit the food as a glove would a hand.

The appetizer, Salsa Tartufata con Mozzerella Fresca is a cold truffle and mushroom ragu atop homemade walnut bread. The menu takes great pride in its elaboration that actual truffles are used exclusive of their commonly used oil. Mendez thought the flavor was too bland and the texture mealy, but not entirely unenjoyable. Out of the three dishes it was our least favorite, but a good start to the meal.

For the entrees, the bloggers chose Fritelle di Mandorle ed Albicocche and Coniglio con Pancetta. The fritelle was a rich fried cake of almonds and apricot. The flavor was terrific with a pleasantly fatty mouth-feel. The greens were fresh, tasty and crisp, reminding the bloggers that not every restaurant in New Haven cuts corners by cutting open bagged salad. The dish overall was light and delicious renewing our trust in green salads. The Coniglio was hands down superb. What is coniglio? Rabbit (as in "be berry berry quiet..."). Mendez, who has owned many pet rabbits over the years questioned why he never skinned and roasted little Samantha Brownspots (1992-1994). Rabbit flesh is a greatest hits of meat tasting notes. It is sweet like pork, mild with a stringy texture like fowl with an aftertaste akin to beef. The sauce, a tomato and white wine reduction was straight out of grandma's bag of tricks, using carrots as a sweetener to the mouth and the eye. The carrots soaked in as much flavor as they gave. They were a great addition to the dish crying out for headline menu status of its own.

The bloggers can see why the waitress rolled her eyes; from appetizer to dessert, the food at Skappo is meant to be shared. Hans and Mendez had as much fun sharing and talking about the food as eating it, deciding who would get to chew the remaining meat off the rabbit bone being an example of how ambassadorship should work. Honestly, if you are to share the bill why not the food? Skappo is not for a hurried lunch break, nor a quick bite; that does disservice to the food as well as the diner. Here food is a meditation, each bite reveals a new flavor and comprehension of the dishes. It's a great date site; leave the kids at home and splurge on a bottle of wine. Our bill came to around fifty dollars the meal leaving us pleasantly satisfied. Like Black Sabbath, Skappo is worth revisiting again and again.

59 Crown St
(203) 773-1394

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