La Rosso Pasta & More

Update: 10/12/13
I believe La Rossa moved and has changed the concept of the restaurant.  I do have plans to try out the new place and write a new post as soon as I find the time. 

Original Post: 11/5/12
La Rosso is in the Eastern Shore Center in Malbis/Spanish Fort.  I believe it opened summer /fall of 2012.  At first, I thought it was a chain restaurant I have never heard of but I was surprised to learn it is family owned and operated.  I could not tell by the decor or the  menu.  La Rosso serves up fusion food with an Italian flair.

Beef Carpaccio
I was on my way to Pensacola when I decided to stop by La Rosso for lunch on a weekday.  I was starving so I decided to go all out.  Hey, I figure I was on vacation so I can let loose a little bit.  I started with the beef carpaccio.  It's thinly sliced tenderloin with arugula, roasted tomatoes, shaved pecorino cheese and Dijon vinaigrette.  The beef was so tender and thinly sliced it tears apart using a fork.  It was melt in your mouth tender.  The vinaigrette gave it a bit of a tang but the beef itself was already seasoned quite well. I tasted some roasted sesame in the dish and I think it came from a dressing on the greens.  I had some arugula and cheese with each piece of beef.  It was sensational.  I definitely recommend the carpaccio to any meat lover.

As I am waiting for my appetizer, the waiter brought out a basket of bread.  I thought nothing of it until I got a load of the butter.  Instead of the plain stuff, La Rosso serves up roasted garlic compound butter with toasted bagette slices.  I am a big fan of compound butters and even more so of roasted garlic.  My taste buds were ecstatic.
La Rosso had a lunch special going on the day I went.  I could get a sandwich with a side of pomme frites (fries) or house salad and a soup.  I went with the Peace Maker with the house salad and the Crispy Wonton Soup.  

The Crispy Wonton soup is chicken broth infused with lemon grass and ginger, served over crispy fried vermicelli and pork wontons.  The presentation of the soup was something else.  The waiter brings out the bowl without the broth.  You see the two wontons and what looks like white straws looking things.  The server then pours the broth over the noodles and you hear a crackling sound as it re-hydrates and sucks in all that flavorful juice.  I thought the pork wontons were a little salty but the soup base was very good.

Peace Maker
My sandwich, Peace Maker, consists of crispy fried gulf shrimp, apple wood smoked bacon, baby greens, dill pickles, and crystal hot sauce aioli on a po boy.  There were about six shrimps on an 8 inch bagette.  The shrimp were huge and fried to perfection.  The bacon added just the right amount smokiness and richness.  I like the hot sauce aioli more than I thought I would.  The dill pickles and greens balanced everything out.  My only complaint about this dish is it was toasted a tad much.  It got to the point if you're not careful you could scrape the roof of your mouth biting into the sandwich.  I found I had to take smaller bites to avoid "injury."  The lunch special is more than enough to satisfy any appetite. 

La Rosso is not a huge restaurant by any means.  I would estimate it seats about 50-70 people comfortably.  There's plenty of room for families and I think would cater well to children.  I like the little outside eating area as well.  You can people watch as you eat.  The con.. people can watch you as you eat.  

On the day I went there was only one server for the entire restaurant.  I can well understand that because it's a weekday and not a busy shopping season.  I think he did really well.  He was courtesy and efficient even as the dining room started to fill up.  I liked that he took time to answer my questions about the restaurant and about the chef.  I also liked the chef/owner came out twice during my lunch to visit with diners.  We got to talking and he told me how he just opened La Rosso after working for years in the industry.  Chef Will is a classically trained French chef.  He learned a lot about Asian cuisine through his friends.  He told me, he was somehow get his friends' mothers/grandmothers to invite him into their kitchens and teach him what they know.  I like that kind of engagement with customers.  It makes visiting a restaurant much more than just a business transaction.

La Rosso, Pasta & More on Urbanspoon


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