Highly anticipated 'Italian soul' restaurant opens its doors in downtown Houston
One of this year's most eagerly anticipated restaurants makes its debut to the public on Tuesday, October 15. Rosalie Italian Soul, Top Chef Masters winner Chris Cosentino's new restaurant in downtown's C. Baldwin Hotel, has opened its doors.
Rosalie takes its inspiration from Cosentino's childhood, where he learned to cook alongside his great-grandmother Rosalie. That starts with the design by Philadelphia firm Rohe Creative, which has fashioned an updated take on Rosalie Cosentino's 70s-era kitchen. Details include retro TVs and custom walnut shelving that holds records, boomboxes, and art. Denim-covered banquettes, raised booths, and a family-style common table provide a mix of seating options.
The menu covers a wide range of Italian-American options that Cosentino and executive chef Sasha Grumman have updated with both his culinary perspective and Gulf coast ingredients. At dinner, the menu includes a number of pizzas, pastas such as blue crab manicotti and rigatoni with Texas wild boar ragu, and starters like vegetable frito misto and fried calamari. Mains run the gamut from a whole eggplant parmesan and Gulf shrimp fra diavolo to a whole chicken milanese and daily specials like lasagna and chicken cacciatore.
Breakfast includes egg sandwiches, polenta, and Italian-style doughnuts. Lunch, which begins October 23, lightens up the menu with more salads and sandwiches such as shaved porchetta and a "meatball dip." Pastry chef Valeria Trasatti's desert options include cannoli, tiramisu, soft serve ice cream, and an old school plate of Italian-style cookies.
“This food represents immigrant cuisine in America,” Cosentino said in a statement. “When Italians immigrated to the U.S., it was difficult to acquire the same product that they had at home in Italy. This is why Italian-American food was created. Ingenuity happened. I’m taking a lot of the dishes that I grew up with and breathing in a little bit of new life — in this little region of Italy known as Houston.”
Rosalie beverage director and assistant general manager Jay Pyle oversees the restaurant's Italian-focused wine list of approximately 100 bottles. Pyle has also created a cocktail program that incorporates Italian wines and spirits, such as fermet and prosecco.
Rounding out Rosalie's team are general manager Annie Balest, a veteran of Tony's and Vallone's, and director of food and beverage Charlie Skipsey. Both Balest and Skipsey worked with Cosentino's business parter Oliver Wharton at Jaleo, superstar chef José Andrés' restaurant in Las Vegas' Cosmopolitan hotel.