How to judge the early success of Scusi Trattoria, celebrity chef Laurent Tourondel’s new Italian restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens?
“The vision has come to life, for sure,’’ said Travis Wadsworth, general manager of the eatery that opened this past November. “The ambience, the décor… there is nothing else like it in Laurent’s restaurant family.’’
For the record, has an impressive family, which includes L’Amico in New York City, LT Steak & Seafood in Miami and BLT Steak in Charlotte, Hong Kong and San Juan.
Bright and airy, Scusi, located in PGA Commons in the spot previously occupied by Vic & Angelo’s, is Tourondel’s first Palm Beach County location and combines a coastal Italian flair (menu and architecture) with a bit of a South Florida twist. It’s a terrific addition to the area’s Italian restaurant scene.
Scusi’s menu includes some L’Amico staples, specifically the outstandingly tender wood baked Branzino with spinach and mushrooms and the pizza baked in custom-made Neapolitan ovens. Pasta dishes for dinner also include Radiator (ennel sausage, rapini, pignoli, pecorino sardo), and my favorite, Agnolotti (filled with veal, prosciutto, parmigiano, sage brown butter.
The lunch menu features many of the same dinner menu. Scusi’s Happy Hour offers $10 pizzas, as well as a selection of wines, beer and cocktails. Look for a brunch to launch in the next several weeks.
Scusi’s open kitchen allows guests to watch Chef Simone Apostoli and his team in action from start to finish.
“Chef is from Italy and has some secrets of his own. And he has taken some that Laurent has taught him,’’ Wadsworth said. “The two of them bring together a pretty good product.’’
And although Tourondel’s empire is worldwide, it hasn’t been unusual the past few weeks to see the French-born chef working the line at Scusi.
“He’ll watch every dish come out. Before a service he might change a pasta because he didn’t like something about it,’’ Wadsworth said. “He invites feedback from our guests. Laurent knows this is a different market and it’s an ever-changing process. The food here is what he grew up eating. Everything is made from scratch. The pasta is made fresh and the pizza dough takes three days.
“We don’t have chicken parmesan and things like that. We want to offer something a bit more elevated but still appeal to everybody – and have fun doing it.’’
Feature Photo: Scusi Trattoria Branzino