Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dinner at Rosie's Italian Grille

Rosie's Italian Grille
606 North McCord Road
Toledo, OH 43615


Since 1983, the Barone family has operated Rosie's in Toledo. Originally, a family style pizzeria known for "hot mamma bread" and rectangular thick crust pizza, Rosie's had three locations and even a frozen foods line in local grocery stores. Times have changed. While the original pizzeria on Sylvania Avenue remains Rosie's Italian Grille on McCord Road takes a swift turn from pizzeria to trattoria as executive Chef, Chris DeWart, attempts to create a more authentic Italian menu in Toledo.

For purists, Toledo offers few options for true Italian cuisine. Chef DeWart comes to Rosie's from Ciao and a stint as an executive chef for Dana Corporation. The menu at Rosie's Italian Grille features Florida grouper and yellow tail snapper with a choice of eight tempting preparations. I chose the grouper ($23) with "tomato caper salsa", as it seemed closest to Mediterranean cuisine. It was both light and delicious. Pasta's range from baked rigatoni ($14) to a seafood with mushrooms pasta ($20) featuring shrimp, scallops, fresh mushrooms, asparagus, capers and white wine. Rosie's still allows diners to choose their own pasta shape to accompany the selection of sauces. Carne includes a stuffed bell pepper with an undefined "meat blend", rice and tomato sauce ($16) as well as New Zealand baby lamp chops ($22), and a 14 oz. veal porterhouse ($27).

My party was particularly pleased with the Caprese salad appetizer and noted that the mozzerella was as fresh as the sliced tomatoes and basil leaves. We inhaled the Zingerman's bread on the table, eagerly mopping up the balsamic vinaigrette remaining on our Caprese plate. While many of the entrees are creative departures from an Italian menu, Chef DeWart manages to avoid the themed chain restaurant cliche of serving some version of garlic mashed potatoes with the selection of carne. The list of optional side dishes includes sauteed spinach ($5), an Italian classic. For hometown traditionalists, Rosie's signature pizzas and "hot momma bread" are still on the menu. When we learned that none of the desserts were made in-house, we opted for coffee and cappucino. The dessert list includes tiramisu ($4), key lime pie ($4), cannoli ($3) and some form of chocolate cake ($4).

The McCord Road building is completely redone and includes an intimate bar with brightly colored Venetian style glass lighting and Thursday through Saturday night, features live music. We appreciated the subdued volume of a talented Jazz trio. The main dining room is comfortable, with simple booths, tables and quietly tasteful decor. It also features a lovely ceramic tiled fireplace but the wall mural and institutional cieling tiles are tacky remnants from the pizza parlor days. With the new Rosie's patio in clear view, I could easily imagine myself dining al fresco during the summer months.

The wait staff was pleasant, but unknowledgable about the menu or proper wine service. The waitress asked, "Have you ever had this wine before?" in lieu of pouring a small taste for me to check for the condition of this particular bottle. With this preface, it is probably no surprise that she flopped the bottle onto my glass as she poured it.

In spite of the need to increase the transition to fine dining with more service staff training, this is a bold departure from the old Rosie's and, with such an ambitious chef and sous chef, it should continue to become more refined as the menu evolves.

“Glass City Gourmet” is a chronicle of one woman's attempt to cook, eat, diet and entertain with both flair and whimsy while based in Toledo, Ohio. I encourage you to read on as the "Glass City Gourmet" attempts grand recipes, samples locally owned restaurants, visits indigenous markets and humbly pursues her quest to be formally recognized as the official "Glass City Gourmet".

7 comments:

  1. Right on, Glass City Gourmet! It's like I was there.

    The only thing you missed was that after spending so much on creating the right ambience, Rosie's should have opted for a real ceiling rather than "Carraba's-like" ceiling tiles.

    My dinner, however, was excellent. I enjoyed it the following evening as well -- generous portions enabled me to have a great leftovers meal.

    Best wishes with your new blog and your quest to become the official "Glass City Gourmet".

    JFP

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  2. Very nicely done, I haven't been to Rosie's since the remodeling but after reading this? Will do so very soon.

    :-)

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  3. Hi, very awesome blog and helpful, as I like to eat out in Toledo when I'm up there (I live in Bluffton, my wife has family in Toledo).

    I blog over at www.bloggingohio.com and since I couldn't find your email address on the blog I thought I'd ask if you could email me at tobias.buckell@weblogsinc.com, I'd like to interview you and link to your site from bloggingohio.com if you're interested.

    Thanks!

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  4. My friends and family have been to Rosie's many times. The staff is knowledgeable, warm and inviting. I recommend the Chicago Stockyard steaks or the Chefs featured fish. Which we were told is flown in from the florida keys.
    The Tuscan outdoor patios are so beautiful, you can loose track of time. When I made this comment to our waitress, her reply was"wonderful we succeeded with taking you away from the outside world to relax and enjoy the food,service and atmosphere.
    We live an hour away, and frequent once a week. This is the place to be!

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  5. Jeff & RhondaMay 27, 2006 11:08 AM

    My wife and I took the advice of others on Rosie's. Wow! The Chef's did an outstanding job on our entree's. It was nice that our server asked if it was our first time, she took us on a "tour of the menu", which was pretty inpressive. The servers table manners showed that she enjoyed taking care of us. which nowadays is hard to find anywhere. You have to sit out on the patio. My wife and I were blown away. We enjoyed a glass of wine after dinner in the bar, entertainment was a nice touch.
    If you haven't been to Rosie's you owe it to yourself. Kudo's to the entire staff.
    Jeff & Rhonda

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  6. Robert and GlendaJanuary 30, 2007 7:57 PM

    Rosie's no longer employs the executive Chef Chris Dewert. His inspiration has left the Rosie's family. My wife and I noticed the food was not up to the usual specifications. Service was still wonderful but the flavor was not there. After a few times of disappointment with the food's flavor not being consistent I asked our waitress who was very knowledgeable if there was a change in chef's. Her reply was yes Chef Chris is no longer with the company. Barone's take it from the public bring Chef Chris BACK!!! We use to eat there at least 2 times a week and now it's once every couple of weeks. It makes us wonder what kind of restaurant would let a Chef leave that just won the award "Chef of the Year" by the Toledo Paper. I hope things change around there we use to love the food now it's ok. The atmosphere is good and the service is always great! but food quality is now lacking.

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  7. Glass City Gourmet time to do another review of Rosie's Italian Grille. The restaurant has been open for well over a year now and you need to try it again and update your review for 2007. May I suggest the Gourper!

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