Now you may not have heard of La Rosetta, but Fred Mero’s name has been synonymous with many great food establishments, such as the four seasons and the boathouse in the New York City scene over the past 20 years. Now he has gone off on his own with Vincenzo Roberto to open up La Rosetta.
One thing that was clear throughout the meal was the attention to detail. They cook with a “process well worth it.” I came in on a cold afternoon and asked the chef to take his pick and cook for me what he would want.
Mero’s process was clearly evident in the Arugula salad. What seems like a simple salad was taken to the next level with its details. The salad was a Hydro Arugula Salad with Muscat raisins, shaved aged Parmiggiano, Marcona almonds with a Vin cotto dressing. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this salad, because I am not a huge fan of raisins. They just don’t tend to be my thing, but these were homemade raisins and where we can see that “process well worth it.” Chef Mero takes the Muscat grapes and roasts them over night in a very low temperature oven. This process pulls all of the flavor into the raisin and creates a texture that is far more pleasing in a salad than your typical raisin, plus they do not stick to your teeth. There is a creaminess the raisin that compliments that pure and beautiful Marcona Almonds and rich Vin cotto dressing with the bitter greens. This is a salad that I would not have ordered on my own; but I was more than happy enjoying every bite of the delicate salad.
Next course; Seafood Risotto. Risotto is a fickle thing. Everyone has their perspective and way of doing it. Some want it soupier, some like it drier. I like a good texture and toasting on my rice. That was the one thing missing for the beautiful bowl. That warm toasted texture would have put this stick to the ribs dish over the top. The lobster was cooked to perfection. Fresh large chunks of that delicious white and red meat danced in the lemon parsley with grace. The calamari and muscles were absolutely perfectly cooked. All of the seafood was incredible fresh and clean, pure white and shinny (right where it should be). The jumbo shrimp were delicious and served with the heads on. So if you’re adventurous you can enjoy sucking the briny head and popping a little post Halloween eyeball into your mouth (no joke they happen to be delicious).
To close out the meal, I requested something very light. Next thing I knew there was a beautiful bowl presented to me with banana ice cream, fresh berries, a light cookie, a beautiful classic lemon sorbet and a small sprig of mint. At first I wondered banana and lemon, really is that a flavor combo you really want; but it sure is. I loved it. The cookie added a nice texture, but the extra crumb did not actually add enough texture to be noted. Once again the freshness of the ingredients was clear with the berries. The lemon sorbet cleaned my palate and re-energized me to get started on my way.
All and all I truly enjoyed La Rosetta. I have no need to wonder why Ruth Reichl had called Fred Mero’s cooking perfect in the past. Here he is at La Rosetta without the support of a big name working to develop his very own passionate organic and sustainable version of foodie nirvana.