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Wednesday
Nov252009

Dinner at Salumeria Rosi

 

  • Cuisine: Italian, small plates/tapas, wine bar
  • Atmosphere: small and intimate, retail counter, bustling, tight quarters
  • Attire: smart-casual
  • Ideal for: pre-post theater, 1x1/date night, small plates, foodies
  • Must try: lasagna, torta di porri (leek tart)
  • Price: all plates, with the exception of specials, under $10
  • Reservations: via phone or opentable.com
  • Phone: (212) 877-4800
  • Website: www.salumeriarosi.com
  • Location: 283 Amsterdam Avenue (btw 73rd and 74th Streets)

*All of my photos from this meal can be viewed on Flickr

How was the service?

Patient, knowledgeable and attentive – the staff seemed to know their product (both food and wine) and exactly what to pair it with for optimal flavor

What did you drink?

I began my meal with a dry, lightly-sweetened orange bitters spritzer, followed by glasses of both white and red wines (dependent upon which grape would compliment each dish).

How was the food?

Salumeria Rosi’s menu is designed for sharing.  Dishes are small, yet portions are ample enough to satisfy even the most insatiable appetite.  In terms of diet/watching your waistline, patrons can be as naughty or as nice as they so choose; i.e. menu items range from healthy to hearty.

If la joie de vivre was a brand, then Salumeria Rosi's famous chef, Cesare Casella, would be its spokesperson.  And upon our visit, Alex and I were lucky enough to be graced by his magnetic presence.   

Tucked in to the left breast pocket of his chef coat was Cesare's signature accessory: a bushel of rosemary sprigs.  I later observed snippets of the fragrant herb peaking out of the napkins at each place setting. Cute.

  • Parmigiano-reggiano: Within moments of being seated, Alex and I were presented with a basket of warm, freshly-baked sliced bread followed by our first dish: nuggets of dense, creamy Parmigiano-reggiano cheese paired with a shallow reflecting pool of aged sweet balsamic vinegar.             
  • Prosciutto Di Parma: Simultaneously, another basket of fresh bread arrived (Alex and I polished off the first within a matter of minutes!) alongside a plate piled high with thinly-sliced ribbons of Prosciutto Di Parma.  Alex and I made pseudo sandwiches using the salty ham and parmigiano-reggiano cheese, finished with a quick dip in to the balsamic vinegar.  Molto bene!          
  • Caponata:  Although Otto still makes my favorite version of caponata, Salumeria Rosi’s rendition wasn’t too shabby.  Imagine a relish, of sorts, made from the following sautéed ingredients: chopped eggplant, celery, garlic, red bell pepper, salt, capers, sugar, tomatoes, vinegar and olive oil (plus or minus a couple more veggies).  *Just like a fine wine, caponata gets better with age.  The relish reaches its flavor peak after having marinated for a minimum of five hours. 
  • Sette Fagioli: Translated from Italian, “sette fagioli” means “seven beans.”  Sans greens, this tasty heirloom salad came tossed in a sweet/sour vinegar and oil dressing and was garnished with finely chopped Italian parsley.  This was one of our favorite dishes.
  • Insalate Pontormo: Of all the dishes we tried, I found this to be the most unique, as it was literally a warm salad composed of: scrambled eggs, pancetta and market greens (a.k.a. a fancier term for “lettuce leaves”).  I found the combination of the warm protein and wilted greens to be off-putting.
  • House-made sausage with lentils (one of the evening’s specials): Not being a big fan of lentils, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this dish, though in all honesty, someone could serve a scoop of ice cream aside house-made sausage, and I’d probably still eat it.  To my pleasant surprise, the starchy lentils served as an interesting textural component to the rich and juicy sausage (which, by the way, was out-of-this-world delicious and chock full of spice, subtle heat and love).
  • Torta Di Porri: Being a sucker for savory tarts, I could literally hear the Torta Di Porri singing to me like a catchy Miley Cyrus tune (I kid).  And what isn’t sexy about the marriage of leeks, pancetta and Parmigiano cheese all baked in to a rich, buttery crust? 
  • Mezzi Rigatoni All'amatriciana: Minus the sauce's rich bacon-y flavor (derived from the pancetta), this pasta dish was damn near perfect: the rigatoni noodles were cooked “al dente,” and the robust tomato gravy was bursting with savory aromatics (garlic, Parmigiano).
  • Lasagna: Our portion was cut in to a perfect square, divulging layer upon layer of ricotta cheese and pillow-y handmade strips of pasta dough.  The tomato-based ragu was delicately dotted with ground pork and beef.  A kiss of béchamel gave the sauce a pinkish “alla vodka” color.  Like a decadently rich soufflé, each bite melted in my mouth.

Will you return to Salumeria Rosi?
Absolutely, without a doubt.  Between the retail counter and onsite dining, Salumeria Rosi truly offers the best of both worlds.  With spring/summer 2010 already on my mind, I can't help fantasizing about filling a basket with of some of my favorite Salumeria Rosi products and hosting a picnic for friends in nearby Central Park.

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