Mini cannolis flaunt convention via loose pastry cream fillings, as opposed to the thicker, pastier ricotta cream common in Brooklyn's Italian neighborhoods. A disk of lemony cheesecake hewed closer to conformity — its smooth, creamy custard and moist crumb crust lifted by a puff of goat cheese and a scintillating scoop of sorbet featuring bright white bites of sheer vanilla chill. A quintet of cheese selections (choice of three for $12) includes silky Robiola Bosina from Piedmont, served with stewed figs, chamomile, and honey; and Blu del Moncenisio, a creamy cow's milk from the same region, with apple and pear mostarda.
The S.S. Scarpetta wasn't all smooth sailing. Upon arriving punctually for our reservation, a hostess invited us to wait in the lounge until seating was available. There were, in fact, at least four unoccupied tables set at the time, one of which we were led to — 15 minutes later. Generally speaking, there is a bit of snootiness in the air, as well as a high noise volume, which is great for imparting a lively ambiance, but not so hot for conversing. And ceiling vents around the perimeter of the room blow cold air directly upon diners seated beneath them. On our first visit, one group asked to be moved; on another, a patron requested a tablecloth to use as a wrap. Ironically, the defining characteristics of Scarpetta's cuisine are its honesty and warmth. Bring a sweater. Hop onboard.