What do celebrities and restaurants have in common? Obviously they can afford to eat at restaurants and exclusive ones at that. However, what is up with restaurants with pictures of celebrities and athletes on the wall? Is the mere fact a celebrity that likes a particular restaurant suddenly make it great? Well, more often than not, it is mostly hype. One prime example in Vancouver is the Elbow Room. It is a decent place to have breakfast; but there are better. But due to their shtick, they remain popular. When I was in NYC, Carnegie Deli definitely had the star factor. They even had their signature sandwich named after one - Woody Allen. Best corned beef sandwich? Not bad; but again, there is better. Now, here I am at another restaurant that boasts a slew of celebrity guests including Ron Jeremy. I mention this because we were seated right next to his picture. Not sure if I was in the mood for Italian sausage...
We did start with some meat in the form of Anna's Salad. A meat salad... my kind of salad! Consisting of salami, prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and olives in a balsamic vinaigrette. Nothing particularly amiss about the salad, it is what you see in the picture. However, the balsamic vinaigrette was flavourful and left a lasting impression. In fact, I used it with the complimentary bread. Much better than using butter. Wolvie decided to order the Veal Parmigiana. That was a good idea in my books. I was torn between that and a pasta. She helped me with my decision-making. We found the veal to be okay. It was quite large and doused with quite a bit of sauce and cheese. The sauce was both tart and a tad salty. The same could be said about the sauce with the accompanying penne. It always seems like we bring Italian Stallion with us whenever we eat Italian. This time was much of the same. I guess he is our "legitimacy" police. He went for the Cannelloni and it was in the same sauce which in turn made the dish salty. The copious amount of cheese only made it even more flavourful. The meat was properly seasoned and moist. He thought it was an acceptable version; but not as good as his mom's. Can't argue with that!
For myself, I had the Linguine alla Vongole. Predictable, if you know me by now. I gotta say that this was pretty good. The pasta was nicely al dente and the abundance of clams, onions and garlic provided a huge punch in terms of flavour. I'm sure the aggressive use of salt didn't hurt either. It could be too salty for some; but it definitely worked for me. The only thing I would change about it would be to hold back a bit on the olive oil. Viv had the Ravioli. This was mostly a "meh" dish. The freshly made ravioli was slightly doughy while the sauce was tart and flavourful, much like the other dishes. Despite this, the flavour had a hard time meshing with the ravioli since they were quite dense. Not a bad dish per se, just nothing special about it. I have to admit that I've heard many differing views on Rosa's prior to our visit. The service we received was both friendly and courteous. Some have remarked that it is generally rude. Wolvie and Italian Stallion confirmed this by stating that the service was less than warm the last time they were here. I guess it depends on your server. Furthermore, taking into account their last visit and this one, one's opinion about the food rests solely on what is ordered. I thought my linguine was fantastic; but the others were either okay or nothing special. Thus, I'm not sure if Rosa's is another place that is a victim of being over-hyped or not. But I know that if I want Linguine alla Vongole again, I'd certainly return.
- Decent portion sizes
- Homey place
- It's got that hidden, out-of-the way location appeal
- Could be a victim of hype
- Very small place, prepare to lineup... outside
- Food comes out really slow