From the chef behind the crowd-pleasing Spaniard comes Scampi, an Italian seafood restaurant opening tonight in Flatiron. Chef PJ Calapa was on Ai Fiori’s opening team before striking out on his own to open the Spaniard and now this new Southern Italian restaurant at 30 West 18th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
At Scampi, Calapa created a menu of southern Italian seafood dishes, with various crudos like razor and manila clams with fennel, chives, and prosciutto and grilled fish such as branzino with cippolini onions, broccoli rabe, and chiles. Of course there’s a focus on scampi, with a monthly rotating ode to the preparation, starting with a mafaldine pasta with shrimp scampi, parsley, butter, and lemon. Other pastas, refined during Calapa’s time at Ai Fiori, include lumache with manila clams, tarragon pesto, and breadcrumbs, as well as mezzaluna with braised pork ragu ravioli, pomodoro, and pecorino toscano.
Desserts are from another Ai Fiori alum, pastry chef Laura Sansone, and focus on plays on classic Italian desserts such as cannoli, gelato, and cookies. Wines, selected by head sommelier Kimberly Prokoshyn (Rebelle, Pearl & Ash) focus on southern Italy, with over 100 bottles under $100 and 50 under $60. Up to 20 wines will be offered by the glass at any given time.
As for the space, Parts and Labor Design put in lots of distressed woods, plants, and blue banquettes. It’s a 3,000-square-foot space with a 15-seat bar, high-top communal tables up front, and 50 seats in the dining room.
Scampi is now open Monday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Lunch will follow.