Pictured above: The tiramisu is a perfect ending to a meal at Marcellino Ristorante.
Nestled in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale near the Scottsdale Waterfront is home to a destination of fine dining, Marcellino Ristorante. The artisans behind the establishment, Chef Marcellino Verzino and his wife, Sima have not only created the finest in neo-Italian cuisine, but also an atmosphere to simply relax and feel that you are in the home of old friends.
Chef Marcellino was born on a farm in Italy. As he grew, he became passionate about producing authentic Italian cuisine. He brought his love of old-country cooking and was well received in New York culinary circles (he has been invited to cook at the James Beard House in NYC twice) before discovering the charm of Arizona. Every detail of Marcellino Ristorante is composed in a living work of art where you can feel the quantum connection between old Italy and the quirky appeal of Old Town Scottsdale. The experience that the Verzino’s want you to have is all about connecting people around fine food. While I’m sure they would enjoy visiting with each diner, the knowledgeable, friendly and courteous wait staff make you feel like you are a member of their extended Italian family.
Our culinary adventure was primed with a tasty bruschetta while our waiter presented an example of the daily pasta production. All their pasta is handmade fresh daily from only the finest ingredients, seasoned with earthy herbs, and rolled with the strength and passion of well-trained hands.
The first course was hand-crafted Pasta Paccatelli al Ragu di Salsiccia – a short, toothsome pasta enveloped in hearty sauce of tomato, sausage and fresh herbs. The distinct taste and texture of handmade pasta is a joyful experience that leaves you feeling light, satisfied, and ready for more.
The main course was Salmone in Crosta di Porcini Con Cognac e Porri – Atlantic salmon dusted with porcini flour, sauteed with leeks and imported porcini mushrooms in a cognac flambe; served with potatoes and seasonal vegetables. A sensual medley of ingredients to complement the salmon which was cooked to that fine line that straddles a flaky texture yet retaining the natural juices that give a distinctive flavor to the salmon.
Our meal was capped with tiramisu – rich, espresso drenched savoiardi (ladyfingers), layered with mascarpone cream, dusted with unsweetened cocoa. It only made sense – it was a perfect way to end this divine meal.
If you plan to dine on Thursdays and Saturdays, you can catch live entertainment led by the other half of team Verzino, Sima, a chef of a different art medium, who performs with the All Star Trio and local jazz artists. Sima supplies the lead vocals with a trio of talented musicians. Together they create a smooth jazz bohemia, with possibly a little of that retro funk, at just the right decibel level that encourages you to engage the performance, but also allows for a pleasant dinner conversation.
You can’t really go wrong with dinner at Marcellino Ristorante, just make sure your ‘later’ plans are flexible enough to change in the event you find yourself preferring to linger a while longer.
Marcellino Ristorante is located at 7114 E. Stetson Dr. in Scottsdale. The restaurant hosts many events in December including Chef Marcellino’s Heritage Dinner on Dec. 4 and a New Year’s Eve Party on Dec. 31. Chef also offers cooking classes throughout the year. For more information, visit marcellinoristorante.com.