Scotti’s had been a favorite lunch spot when I had worked on Upper Union St. some years back, but as I am usually on the other side of town during the day, I hadn’t been in for awhile when my friend and I stopped by for lunch one recent hot, muggy Thursday afternoon. I had forgotten just how good the food is at this cozy, charming neighborhood restaurant.
Apparently, many people know how good the food is because at 1:10 pm on a summer weekday afternoon, the 14 table dining room was half full. The walls are the color of the Tuscan sky at sunset and racks of impressive wine bottles complete the simple décor. Outside, on the sidewalk, is an enclosed patio area surrounded by flowering vines which allow for dining privacy and Union St. people watching. Ordinarily, I’d opt for the patio but this was a day that screamed, “Stay in the air-conditioning”.
The lunch menu is not as extensive as their dinner offerings, but you can select from some cold salad plates, Italian sandwiches, many pasta dishes and personal pizzas. ($9 – $12) While we perused the menu, a basket of hot, crusty Italian bread was served.
My friend, B, decided on the tomato caprese salad. Thick slices of fresh, off the vine tomatoes were topped with fresh mozzarella and roasted red peppers then drizzled with an olive oil and balsamic dressing. The portion was the perfect size for a summer lunch or two could split it for an appetizer.
I wanted something a little more substantial so I looked at the hot dishes. Veal, chicken or eggplant parmigiana with penne, penne with meatballs or sausage, penne with vodka sauce, chicken or spinach ravioli and eggplant rollatini all sounded good.
I’m a red sauce girl by nature and my one foray away from that would be fettucine alfredo which was the dish I was leaning towards.
I asked the waiter for a recommendation and he said the Chicken White Wine – a cutlet sautéed in wine, mushrooms and butter topped with mozzarella cheese was a house favorite among their customers.
It’s not a dish I would ordinarily order, but I’m glad I did. The cutlet was tender and juicy, enhanced by the mushrooms in wine sauce and the mozzarella topping was just enough to add flavor without overpowering the bird. Penne with marinara accompanied the chicken, so I got my red sauce after all and it was light and bursting with tomato flavor. The portion sizes were perfect for lunch. I ate the entire plate – no way to take leftovers in the heat – but I felt comfortable, not stuffed.
We decide to share a dessert of peanut butter gelato dipped in chocolate – like a tartufo. It was served with a sprig of fresh mint. Not to waste anything on my plate, I ate a leaf with each mouthful of gelato. FANTASTIC. Cool, creamy and light it was the perfect ending on this hot afternoon.
I looked over the dinner menu and I will be back to sample more of Scotti’s great cooking.
Appetizers: Homemade soup ($5.50), stuffed mushrooms ($8.75), greens & sausage ($10.95), mussels marinara fra diavolo ($14.95)
Pasta Selections: Pasta marinara ($11.50), cavatelli & broccoli ($13.95) penne alla vodka ($15.95)
Italian entrees: Chicken parmigiana ($16.95), chicken cacciatore ($16.95) veal Sorrento ($18.50)
Seafood: Linguini & clams ($17.95), shrimp scampi ($20.95) baked scrod ($19.95)
Gourmet pizzas: 8 or 12 cut from ($13.75 – $17.97)
Scotti’s Restaurant and Pizzeria
1730 Union St. Schenectady 518-393-7440
Open Tues – Sat 11:30 – 1:30 Lunch
4:30 – 9:30 Dinner