First Bite: La Rosetta Quietly Opens on 14th Street
The neighbors on West 14th Street are no doubt happy to see a relatively sedate Mediterranean restaurant take the place of the nightspot Honey. Restaurateur Vincenzo Roberto has landed chef Fred Mero (ex chef de cuisine at the Four Seasons, and later chef at the Loeb Central Park Boathouse) for the new venture, dubbed La Rosetta, and we stopped by for a first bite.
The Decor: A flashy electric sign out front is no indication of the high quality cuisine inside. Exposed brick walls add charm to an otherwise very basic interior of salmon walls, green leather banquettes and wooden tables. An open kitchen on the first floor allows for a prime view of the chef at work, as well as the raw bar and carving station, while much of the staff is at work in a larger kitchen downstairs.
The Food: An extensive menu includes pastas such as bucatini with guanciale, tomato sauce and parmesan; and risotto with seasonal vegetables, wild mushrooms and sausage. Among the seafood selections are whole branzino and wild striped bass a la plancha; while a carving station features herb-rubbed black Angus boneless prime rib; farmhouse duck with wild rice, Cara Cara oranges and Grand Marnier; and hand-carved roast turkey and prime rib sandwiches. Vegetarians can choose farro and herb pilaf with seasonal greens and wild mushrooms; zucchini manicotti and baked tofu parmigiana.
The Desserts: Classics like cannoli and Italian cheesecake with berry compote join lavender panna cotta and warm butterscotch pound-cake pudding on the dessert menu.
The Music: Tunes flow from Italian standards to light rock.
The Crowd: West Village residents happy to stumble upon a new, reasonably priced spot with solid food, along with followers of Mero from Four Seasons and Boathouse days.
The Details: 243 West 14th Street; 212-924-3400.