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Grazing Old-Worldly Italian at 'Rossini's' in New York (photos)

October 14 2005 at 11:54 AM

MTF  (Login MelvynTeillolFoo)
AP Moderators

 
GRAZING OLD-WORLDLY ITALIAN AT 'ROSSINI'S' IN NEW YORK





Entrance at 108 East 38th Street, Manhattan, NY (between Park and Lexington Avenues)





The Cast with Ex-President George HW Bush & Mrs B Bush




Rossini's opened in 1978 and is still owned and run by the Bernaz family after 26 years. Mr. Romano Bernaz, his two sons Raymond and Gerry and his nephew Josip Cernjul attribute continued success and longevity to "the family’s constant presence and their philosophy of serving true Italian Cuisine in an evolving and interesting fashion". Former President George HW Bush (#41) was a clent.

Having failed to get in when I visited Manhattan over Labor Day 2005 celebrations, I was determined to try out their "old-fashioned" menu and tuxedoed, "old-world" service. As it was mid-week, we were entertained by live pianoforte playing in the background. Apparently, you get opera and popular hits sung by a trio on weekends.





L - R: John, Raymond Bernaz, Tony and Wilson
Everybody loves Raymond





Amuse bouche: Bruschetta
Things did not start off well. I asked for prosecco and initially was 'redirected' to order something else because they did not serve by the glass. I ordered a cocktail but a glass of prosecco did arrive. Alas, as it was from the last of a bottle, it was flat. The bruschetta was barely passable.

I persevered because the folks were friendly and indeed, tuxedoed! I decided to choose a nice wine and leave the food selection to Tony. Here is where things started to look up.





Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1997, Bertani, Veneto, Italy
1997 was a GREAT year in Italy with all regions and wines and the Amarone from that year is just ready to drink (2005).
The characteristic bitter-sweet taste came through wonderfully. Uniquely, the grapes are shrivelled on mats for months after harvesting, and some may be affected by 'the noble rot' for concentrated juice.
Grape Varieties - 70% Corvina Veronese; 25% Rondinella; 5% Molinara
Colour: Deep port-like red
Bouquet: Fresh cherries, vanilla and maybe spice.
Taste: Bone Dry, full body and ample structure. Cherries and vanilla initially that tapers into nuts and tannin.







Starters: Warm Selection before and after parmesan sprinkle

Vongole al Forno
Clams baked with a zesty bread crumb topping, garlic and virgin olive oil

Melanzane Stufati
Eggplant slices stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses

Fungo farcito
Stuffed mushroom

Gamberi alla Rossini
Rossini’s special shrimp in a champagne sauce was my favourite. The caramelised onion in a reduced sauce was like concentrated onion soup. This was my favourite of the selection and I made sure to mop up the sauce with my bread!





Secondi: Tagliatelli with mushroom and sun-dried tomato
The pasta was al dente, the tomatoes were sweet, the mushrooms were heady and the whole paired well with the wine. Nothing more to say...





Main: Vitello alla Rossini
Veal scallops sautéed with a wine and mushroom sauce, highlighted with prosciutto and onion
This went very nicely with the wine, as did the courses before. I was grateful that the roast potato, zucchini and polenta were just tiny taster sizes.





Dessert: Cannoli
One of the most popular Italian desserts in the USA, cannoli are now seen on mainland Italy, as well as their native Sicily. Originally, rich Palermo families sent cannoli as gifts at carnival time. Ricotta filling is traditional but this had vanilla pastry cream. The pastry shell was traditionally fried. I just had a spoonful because all the previous courses were upsized USA portions.





Espresso





Grappa: Ceretto from nebbiolo grape from Barolo
45% alcohol packed a kick with a delicate floral aroma. You "had" to sip it and that allowed time to cogitate and digest, as the piano played on.




CONCLUSION:
Rossini's got an excellent 'WFEDder 2-Tongues' award for old-fashioned menu and charm. The food and wine selection is modest in size but big on quality and delivery. I am glad to have let them choose my food courses.

I have no qualms in recommending this stalwart eatery in Manhattan.




Photos & Text Copyright Melvyn Teillol-Foo, 2005


    
This message has been edited by MelvynTeillolFoo on Oct 14, 2005 12:08 PM


 
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Jack Forster
(Login JackForster)
Belles Lettres Discussion Group

I liked this very much MTF. . .

October 14 2005, 6:53 PM 

. . . great review; and I love Amarone and the '97's really are wonderful. Big, big, big .

Do I detect a weakness for haute grappa? How do you feel about Marc?

Jack

 
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MTF
(Login MelvynTeillolFoo)
AP Moderators

Rain Rain Rain >>

October 15 2005, 4:52 AM 

I'm leaving NYC today and finally the sun is coming out after 8 days of rain.
I was soaked to the skin despite umbrella and leather jacket. Should have brought snorkel instead - 20 inches in a week is a tad TOO wet!

Regards,
MTF

PS Yes, I like Marc....now, where did I put the unfinished Grazing report that finished with Marc?...hmmm

 
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BobbyPin
(no login)

So, is it any better in Japan? (nt)

October 17 2005, 1:23 AM 

nt

 
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SJX
(no login)

Thanks Melvyn.

October 17 2005, 8:16 AM 

Hopefully I can try it out at year end.

Regards,

JiaXian

 
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MTF
(Login MelvynTeillolFoo)
AP Moderators

Take a lady friend or a bloke >>

October 17 2005, 7:26 PM 

if you like, for maximum enjoyment on a weekend. This is probably not a place for lonely dining even though I did it (sniff, sob). It's a place for friends, lovers and family.

I spent my time observing the clients. There were couples who were meant for each other and there were those who, obviously, should not have been seen together! There was a guy being introduced to the girlfriend's grandmother for the first time. I felt for him . Girlfriend was the 'twin-set and pearls' type with a fine array of 'orthodontic management'. Mother was the same with perfect 'permed' hair in what I call, "helmet-hair" style. Grandmama was....well.....obviously the Grande Matriach. Poor guy was practically chewing on his own lips with nervousness. City blokes were cutting business deals. City gals were trying to be city blokes in their conversations. Families were having fun. We had the full spectrum and it was a rainy Wednesday evening too.

"Love is a fairy-tale; it just needs a kiss to come true."

Regards,
MTF



    
This message has been edited by MelvynTeillolFoo on Apr 15, 2006 8:56 AM


 
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SJX
(no login)

That's a great write up

October 18 2005, 3:39 AM 

I really like it. A restaurant is so much more than the food. And I thoroughly agree, dining in NYC is best done with a lady friend.

Regards,

JiaXian

 
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et
(Login wyldpony)
Belles Lettres Discussion Group

Melvyn, I don't know how I missed this one>>>>>>

October 18 2005, 9:03 AM 

from a few days ago. Shame on me. Wonderful write up of an old-world/old-school establishment. Simple, direct, tasty, tuxedos! and piano & opera. What more can you ask? We'll be in NYC for Thanksgiving weekend. Rossini's goes on the list but it has to get behind BABBO, our Thanksgiving weekend/NYU graduation tradition. I look forward to more reports. Thank you.

cheers,
elliot

 
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MTF
(Login MelvynTeillolFoo)
AP Moderators

MIMO >>

October 18 2005, 7:38 PM 

The Singaporeans have a saying, "MIMO" = Miss It - Miss Out.
Not being Singaporean, I can mention that; they are a little bit embarassed about it

The rains on the East Coast may have dampened down everyone's enthusiasm for checking the WFED forum last week; maybe that's how you missed the posting?

I was planning to try BABBO or one of the restaurants in Columbus Circle but the rains confined me to the higher East 30s, where my hotel was located. I'm glad that I did.

Regards,
MTF

 
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et
(Login wyldpony)
Belles Lettres Discussion Group

Nah, I'm on the left coast in LA LA Land. But Melvyn,>>>

October 19 2005, 7:43 AM 

<<<being in the "higher 30s" you weren't more than a short cab, er, submarine ride to Washington Square Park, just next door to BABBO. Ah, maybe next time.

cheers,
elliot

 
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MTF
(Login MelvynTeillolFoo)
AP Moderators

Impossible to hail an empty cab after 6 days >>

October 19 2005, 9:02 PM 

of continuous rain . And then it rained some more..... (2 more days).

Walking was not an option; even with an umbrella, I was soaked up to my groin during a walk along 5th Avenue that afternoon! Don't panic - it wan't a flash flood up to my groin but just the spray and deluge.

Regards (from a rainy Tokyo),
MTF

 
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DANIEL
(no login)

For Mr.Pino Cernjul

November 20 2005, 7:50 AM 

Hello Mr.cernjul!
Nice and quality restaurant!
Greeting from Labin...


 
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Anfa
(Login Anfa)

How fanny, if Bernaz is the owner, why is it called Rossini??(NT)

November 21 2005, 4:50 AM 

-

Anfa

 
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MTF
(Login MelvynTeillolFoo)
AP Moderators

Tribute to the famous music composer? (nt)

May 5 2016, 2:22 PM 

happy.gif
nt

 
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