Monday, August 2, 2010

Salumeria Rosi - Review

Salumeria Rosi - Highly Recommended
283 Amsterdam Avenue
Btn 74th St and 73rd St
New York, NY 10023-2103
Phone: (212) 877-4800

I've been to Cesare Casella's previous restaurants (Beppe and Maremma) and I was always a big fan of his cooking. Italian food is all about simplicity - getting great ingredients, cooking them well and letting the ingredients shine. He definitely does it again as I was floored by the food here and this is definitely my favorite Italian in the city right now.

Our Menu
Selezione del Salumiere (small)
The chef's selection of 7 types of salumi and you get 2-3 slices per salumi - the large you get 4-6. We tried ordering our own, but it's the chef's choice only - makes sense from a cost control perspective. Everything was great and my favorite was prosciutto di parma (porky and melt in your mouth buttery) and I believe what was the sopressata which was bursting with spicy porky flavor. This totally reminded of chorizo from Spain which I totally loved.

Pancia ***
Pork belly cooked in it's own fat. This was a complete WTF moment. I'm so used to the Asian style of pork belly braised till soft and slightly sweet. This was a totally different world as it was crispy yet still tender and it was exploding in pork flavor - something missing from the Asian braise method. Like Maremma and Beppe, the chickpea makes an appearance and it totally helps brighten up the dish and adds great texture. Also the dandelion greens added some bright, vibrant, and bitter pop to the dish. Such a WTF dish and one of my favorite preparations of pork belly.

Trippa Alla Parmigiana *
Solid texture although the funky flavor of the tripe was a bit lost. However, the accompanying sauce was out of control good. Basically a sweet tomato based sauce that was laden with carrots and parsley. Mr Risotto and almost finished two whole bread baskets dipping in this sauce alone.

Costina ***
Spare ribs that were so intensely porky and completely falling off the bone. Again, the bright sweet sauce was to die for.

Uccelletto Di Ceci ***
In house made sausage that was shocking in texture and flavor. It had this almost middle eastern spice thing going on (cardamom, cinnamon), but it still felt Italian. The sausage also tasted like it had some offal in there. Whatever it was, the sausage was out of control tasty.

Semifreddo *
This was a complete WTF in odd playfulness. They basically did melon and prosciutto in odd desert form. The prosciutto was candied and had a texture of peanut brittle, but had the most amazing porkiness going on which worked well with the melon. This would have been a homerun if the semifreddo didn't have this freezer burn quality happening. Still combine all the ingredients and you don't notice it at all.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (8.8/10) – The food is so simple and incredibly delicious. Gotta order some pasta next time!
  • Service (8.5/10) – Everyone on the nets complain about three things - price, terrible service, and their policy of forcing you out after 1 1/2 hours. No idea what everyone on the nets are talking about as the waiter was friendly and suggested some great dishes for us. We also did not see the 1 1/2 hour policy enforced as we were there for 2 1/2 hours. Cesare actually seated us which is refreshing to see a chef that actually is at his own restaurant.
  • Atmosphere (9.0/10) – Sitting outside on a beautiful Saturday in the Upper West Side - can't beat that.
  • Price (7.5) – I was extremely happy with the meal, but it is pretty pricey. Each dish is small tapas size portions and around $8-12 per plate - maybe 3-4 bites per person per dish. Total bill was $70 each, but I had three glasses of wine as well. Still worth it in my opinion.
Closing Comments
I hate to be a chef stalker, but wherever this guy goes I will follow since his food is always spectacular.

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