When I walked into Scoozzi, I was immediately greeted by the smiling face of the hostess, who offered to relieve me of my coat and backpack. Coming in from the cold New Haven weather, Scoozzi’s bright atmosphere and impeccable service were the silver lining to my otherwise gray and cloudy day.
Scoozzi’s Restaurant Week menu blends traditional Italian recipes with some more unexpected flavors. The standard bread and olive oil starter was complemented by a tomato-based dip whose hot spices balanced well with the more mild sesame flavors of the bread. Even in the case of a dish as simple as Caesar salad, Scoozzi adds a distinctive flair by topping the greens with crunchy, cheese-flavored crackers.
My entrée kept up the creative spirit. I ordered the ravioli (my personal favorite in Italian cuisine), but instead of the typical cheese or meat filling, Scoozzi put a twist on the original by using pumpkin. The presentation of the plate was attractive without being overdone: the pasta was paired with an aptly-chosen mix of garnishes that played off the sweetness of the pumpkin.
It was disappointing, then, that dessert was not only uninteresting, but also rather tasteless. The chocolate torte I ordered was uniform in taste, with no difference in flavor between the body and the crust. The garnishes, a caramel-colored sauce and cream, were hardly more than decorations, and added little to the dish.
Scoozzi provides an unexpectedly warm ambiance, radically different from the coldness suggested by the grey cement stairs on the exterior. The meal was, with the exception of a few notable slip-ups, well-prepared, offering slightly atypical flavors within a traditional framework for a blend of old and new. If you just want a piece of cake, though, I say pass this one by.