interior

 
  

Rosso Italia
1901 Military Trail;
Boca Raton, GL 33431
561-353-9819


 
 rosso exterior  

frittata

 

rosso pizza

rosso interior

Rosso Italia, 1901 Military Trail, Boca Raton, FL 33431
561-353-9819


Prices: Appetizers $5-$14; entrees $11-$32; desserts ($4-$9.50)
Ambience: Casual chic
Liquor: Full bar, varied wine list; fair selection of beers
Service: Professional
Cards: All major

 
 Jana Soeldner Danger

 

Traditional Italian fare with some unexpected twists and creative turns is what you will find at Rosso Italia in Boca Raton, a member of the Red Restaurant Group. Just about everything, from soups to desserts, is made on the premises, and you can watch the chefs at work in the open theater kitchen that traverses one end of the long dining room. A bar area running the length of the space invites the after-work or before-dinner crowd to congregate.

The restaurant’s attractive interior is a sparkling, pristine white with dramatic accents of scarlet and stainless steel. Black, hard-surface tables are topped with beige placemats, and washed planked wood flooring adds warmth. The easy chic ambience makes it as good a place for casual a date as it is for dinner with friends or supper with family. But with so many hard surfaces, the restaurant can be noisy when it’s crowded.

Executive Chef Jonathan Bennett, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who is also executive chef at the next door Red The Steakhouse, designed the menu. One interesting feature is a section offering a dozen interesting salamis and cheeses ($5 each or 3/$13). There is a varied wine list and more than a dozen beers, including two drafts from Italy. Shortly after you sit, servers bring warm, whole-grain bread along with fried chickpeas and hummus for munching. Servers are friendly and professional.

Appetizers

We began our dinner with a dish of tasty olives ($6.50) cured in olive oil. A dash of lemon brightened the pungent flavors, with oregano, parsley and chives adding depth. It is a great dish for sharing. Sweet red peppers ($7) were one of our favorites. Stuffed with house-made, just-spicy-enough sausage fragrant with the licorice scent of fennel, then topped with marinara sauce and Romano cheese, the peppers are roasted to flavorful smokiness.

Calamari ($12) is one of the few items not made fresh from scratch in house; it is a frozen product, but still very good. The very lightly breaded rings are flash fried and crisp, seasoned with fresh basil and served with sweet chilies.

Other appetizers include crispy fresh mozzarella ($8.50); mussels in wine sauce ($12.50); stuffed clams ($9.50); roasted artichoke ($9.50); fresh burrata ($13.50); arancini ($9); and carpaccio ($12.50).

Entrees

After watching one of the chefs toss disks of dough high into the air, we decided to order a mushroom pizza ($14.50). It arrived with generous toppings of earthy oysters, shitakes and buttons seasoned with oregano. Fresh arugula added a nicely bitter bite, and a sprinkling of Fontina cheese finished the pie. Our only complaint was that the dish was a bit salty for our tastes.

Perhaps my favorite pasta entrée was mushroom cannelloni ($19.50). Chanterelle, oyster, shiitake and button mushrooms are roasted in olive oil with shallots, oregano and garlic till they form a dusky, earthy liqueur that combined wonderfully with the pecorino, the house ricotta, cream and fresh spinach. It was very good.

Gulf prawns ($28) were very fresh, mild and barely cooked to a perfect texture, and brightened with fresh lemon. I’d absolutely order them again.

House-made pastas were cooked nicely el dente. We tried a few of the variations:

The portion meatballs ($18.50) in tomato sauce was generous and all right albeit bland; they would, however, be a good choice for kids with less-than-adventuresome palates. The mild Bolognese sauce ($17.50) had plenty of ground meat and arrived with house made ricotta.

Linguine with Littleneck clams ($22) was a bit different than the typical version in that the fresh shellfish were fried rather than steamed. The white wine sauce had the right amount of garlic and a nice bit of spiciness.

Among the other entrees are black grouper ($26.50); tuna Catalana ($28); short ribs ($26.50); penne with fennel sausage ($19); carbonara ($18.50); shrimp al aglio ($23); polenta (market price); veal chop ($32); chicken parmesan ($23); filet tournedos ($28); twin lamb porterhouse ($28); and north Atlantic salmon ($24).

Desserts

Desserts include traditional favorites such as flourless chocolate cake,  tiramisu and cannoli (all $8.50) as well as gelatos and sorbets ($4).

Rosso is a casually chic place with a varied menu ranging from pizzas to pastas to steak, lamb, veal and shrimp. Everyone, from kids craving spaghettis and meatballs or pizza to adults with sophisticated palates, should be able to find something to please his or her taste buds.

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