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Scarpetta's $8 happy hour menu: Lobster croquettes, grilled cauliflower, porchetta

Name of restaurant:  Scarpetta’s "8 UNTIL 8" Happy Hour. Monday through Saturday, 4-8 p.m.

Chef: A graduate of the Art Institute of New York City, Executive Chef Freddy Vargas first worked at Scarpetta (New York) in 2008.

For Scarpetta’s $8 Beverly Hills happy hour menu, Vargas offers up tasty dishes for just about everyone. The crispy lobster croquettes with saffron aioli are perfect for a quick bite at the bar. Think "lobster tots" but classier (hey, it’s Beverly Hills). Pork lovers will most certainly want to start with the porchetta piadini, an absolute bargain ($8) for three small sandwiches. Easing back into solid foods after another green juice-cleanse? Try the grilled cauliflower with marcona almonds and lemon zest.

What dish represents the restaurant, and why? The porchetta piadini on brioche buns are the best deal on the $8 happy hour menu. They’re fatty, juicy and tart, courtesy of the accompanying salsa verde and pickled shallots.

Concept: $8 until 8 p.m. Happy hour, featuring $4 beers and $8 cocktails, wines and appetizers every Monday through Saturday, 4-8 p.m.

Who's at the next table? Businessmen in expensive suits, a couple on holiday, food bloggers.

Appropriate for...: Anyone looking for inexpensive bites and cocktails in an elegant (yet welcoming) setting. The intimate bar area is tucked away from the main restaurant.

Uh-oh...: Valet is $8, pricey when compared with the $8 menu! Skip the valet and park at the Beverly Canon Gardens parking garage nearby. The first 2 hours are free before 6 p.m. ($5 after 6 p.m.).

Service: Excellent.

What are you drinking? The Ferrari with tequila, cointreau, blood orange, jalapeno. The new cocktail menu features seven new cocktails crafted by mixologist Rob Floyd of RxLiquidChef.com (formerly of The Bazaar & Chateau Marmont). Sit at the bar and chat up the always-friendly Jason Sorge.

Info: Scarpetta is located in the Montage Hotel, 225 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 499-4199

[For the Record, 12:52 p.m. PDT Sept. 6: An earlier version of this post reported that Freddy Vargas was a graduate of the American Culinary Institute of New York and began working with Scarpetta’s Scott Conant at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in 2008. He is a graduate of the Art Institute of New York City and first worked at Scarpetta (New York) in 2008.]

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The Scouting Report is a quick look at restaurants worth a visit. Scouts were selected by restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, who may or may not agree with a single word.

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