Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rosie's Italian Grille (Toledo, OH)


In one word, I can sum up how I feel about Rosie's Italian Grille (RIG): Under-impressed. Under-impressed, I tell ya! Given the surrounding hype of being the best trattoria in town, I walked in with high expectations. Either people around here have really low standards when it comes to Italian food or my standards of Italian cuisine have somehow escalated in a nine-month span. A Macaroni Grill in disguise, even the dining room area bore semblance to the U.S. chain. And no, I am not being facetious.

Upon having taken our seats at our reserved table, we were soon greeted by a polite server who quickly took down our order for the smoked fish dip while we peruse the menu some more. Our appetizer was brought out momentarily but not without our server's forgetting the bread and dipping oil. When I requested a bread basket, his response was formulated as though it was another appetizer option as opposed to it being complimentary. Moving onto the actual smoked fish dip itself. Despite the enticing sounding appetizer (and presentation), it failed to deliver what the menu had described as the dip tasted more like a tuna salad instead. While I thoroughly enjoyed the crispy flatbread, I found the cocktail sauce (again, generic Kraft-tasting cocktail sauce) to be highly unnecessary.

For my main, I opted for the Margherita Pizza seeing how RIG was a pizzeria before it became all fancy schmancy. Unfortunately, one cannot fathom my mistake in ordering the pizza. Never again will I order pizza at an Italian restaurant. From here on out, they will only be ordered at pizza joints. To start, one look at the thin crust pizza alone is enough to bring on cardiac arrest. In fact, it was so greasy it makes the Meat Lover's Pizza from Pizza Hut look like health food. Mind you, this is only mozarella, tomatoes, basil, and tomato sauce. Imagine the damage if meat were to be added to the calorific concoction.

My parents' dishes were rather dull and were lukewarm when brought to the table. My mom's Chicken Lazy Days, while tastier than my dad's Chicken Marsala, was mediocre as the heavy breading took away from the natural juices of the meat. The clump of Asiago Cheese lended an unessential component as well. The chicken marsala was also quite weak. Typically, one would expect the Marsala wine to give the dish a distinct sweet flavor and aroma, but neither were to be found on the plate. Instead, heavily breaded (again!) chicken breasts shone in beige and tasted beige. Surprisingly, the only shining factor to both entrees was the risotto. Cheesy and buttery while preserving some resistance, I would have enjoyed it had I not been losing a battle to the aforementioned grease galore.

Hoping to end the meal on a slightly good note, we chose to split the tiramisu. Much like Stella's, there is no dessert menu but rather a dessert tray. As I've learned from previous experiences, this isn't always indicative of fresher offerings. In fact, it could just be pure laziness on the restaurant's part. Rich and creamy with just the right amount of moist, the tiramisu was a good way to end the meal. Hints of espresso, vanilla, and cocoa were subtle enough to not detract us from enjoying the dessert. Best tiramisu I've had to date though? So far from it, but at least the cake itself wasn't swimming in a pool of espresso.

From the food being disappointing at best to our server being slightly forgetful at times, I must say that I was a smidge embarrassed to have picked RIG to celebrate my mom's birthday. Despite having made reservations a few days earlier, we were also seated in a booth right next to the kitchen, which made the entire dining experience rather awkward as other servers and busboys were hustling and bustling during the duration of our meal. All 1.5 hours of it. With other Italian dining options in town, I felt as though I should have chosen from more established eateries such as Ciao and Mancy's Italian. Chances are, we probably would have a more pleasant experience.

Rating: **

Rosie's Italian Grille
606 N Mccord Rd
Toledo, OH 43615
(419) 866-5007

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