Rosso Pizzeria+Wine Bar - Santa Rosa
It's a good thing really that this place isn't closer to my home or I'd quickly add the lbs....
I read Melanie's post and when we had to take a ride up to Santa Rosa on Saturday afternoon, I knew that this was a place I had to try - once again, I convinced DH that we needed to have some dinner before heading on to the memorial service of an old friend... a sad reason for the trip but Rosso made all the difference!!!
We pulled into Santa Rosa at about 4:00 pm which was the perfect time to try Rosso - there was only one other table occupied when we walked in. In fact, I was a little concerned as there were only 3 or 4 cars in the lot and the exterior of the restaurant actually looked a little forlorn with it's empty tables and chairs... Little did I know!
We were graciously seated in one of the nice booths and quickly our server (Joelle) came over with menus. Once again, armed with my CH printouts, I knew what I wanted already... The "House made Burrata + Parma Proscuitto, and the Funghi pizza but then the Beet Mista salad caught my eye - I love oven roasted beets and the combination of beets with red onion and citrus plus Bulgarian feta was just calling me! This was perhaps the only slightly disappointing item as the feta consisted of about 5 tiny pieces (the size of rice grains) - when a salad costs $9.00, in my opinion, the feta should have been more apparent then this. I also had to have the "Capo" salad, with Rafter Ranch arugula, oven roasted artichokes, shaved parmesano reggiano and whole lemon vinaigrette.
DH had one of the Moonlight Brewing Co. IPA type beers and I went for a glass of the Flowers pinot. IPA was very nice. Pinot was disappointing to me; it had a harsh taste that I don't associate with pinot... Joelle asked me how I like it and I said I wasn't crazy about it - without missing a beat, she asked if I'd like something else instead and wouldn't take no for an answer. She took it away and brought a glass of the "J" Pinot, Russian River; which was more to my taste. Small negative on my part: I really dislike the wine glasses they are using, the ones without a stem... I know that some prefer them for swirling and they must save on breakage and spillage but I just don't like them at all... but that's just me!
The "Burrata" and proscuitto really I don't think could have been any better; just so fresh tasting. I've eaten proscuitto any number of times but this just tasted so much better... that plate was empty in a flash!
Then our salads came out: The beets were stellar (to coin an oft-used culinary term...) with the exception of the missing in action feta. The arugula was so fresh and clean tasting; maybe could have used a bit more dressing but was very good.
Then came the pizza: why can't all pizza be this good! I love the thin, blistery, slightly charred type of crust and the mushrooms with the thyme and cheese with just a bit of garlic flavor was just soooo good. We tried to eat slowly but it was so hard to keep from just inhaling this!
By this time, the place had filled up and they were waiting in line for a table! So, we finished up and went off to say good bye to our old friend...
Do yourself a favor, get there early and enjoy!
Rosso Pizzeria+Wine Bar
53 Montgomery Dr.
Santa Rosa CA 95404
Here's a link to Melanie's post:
Also, the daily specials look wonderful: Sunday is "Slow Roasted Pig" - sigh - Joelle says they have it every Sunday and are pairing it with carmelized winter squash... must make it up there on a Sunday soon!
I'm going to piggyback onto your review, RWCFoodie, since yours was so recent...
My clinic was closed for the Lunar New Year, a friend and I decided to kick off the Year of the Rat by going to Sonoma. My original plan was to go to Pizzeria Picco before going wine tasting in Sonoma - unfortunately, PP is not open for lunch during the week, but once I had my heart set on pizza, I was going to get pizza - Pizzeria Rosso was an excellent back-up plan.
The restaurant was packed when we arrived at 12:30 – we ended up waiting about 20 minutes for a table. The burrata was as good as all the reports made it out to be – possibly the thinnest “shell” I’ve seen in burrata – the mousse-like center was a pure expression of dairy. Our second appetizer was a large oven-roasted artichoke served with a red pepper aioli (a little heavy on the lemon, but good).
We split a white pizza with sausage, kale, and caramelized onions – I realized after it came to the table that it would have been perfect with an egg on top (an optional add-on, for $2). The crust was good – not as good as Pizzaiolo’s, but good. It was very nicely charred and blistered, although I have to say the blisters looked very different from the ones I’ve seen on other pizzas of this style – this crust had a multitude of small blisters, as opposed to the few large blisters I usually see. I’m guessing it’s the result of a difference in dough wetness, gluten development, and oven temperature, but I’m not sure what combination would give you those blisters. Maybe a slightly less wet dough, and slightly less gluten, but a high oven temp - the crust was a little denser than Pizzaiolo’s, and didn’t have the initial glorious “crackle” at the moment tooth meets crust, but after it cooled down, it wasn’t as chewy as Pizzaiolo’s (I have to really work when I get to that last slice at Pizzaiolo). The crust was saltier than most.
There were a lot of things on the menu that looked really good - I'm definitely going to go back.
Saturday evening I was back at Rosso for the first time in perhaps three years. I'd run into a friend out wine tasting and I said we needed to grab a pizza to go with his zin purchase. He suggested Rosso since it was only 5pm and we'd get a table easily. Good idea, as the wait had been one of the things that had kept me away. We walked right in, but it was full within half an hour except for a couple seats at the bar. And by the time we left at 6:30p, there was a line waiting. This spot continues to be a gold mine.
I reported on the fried chicken here,
Before that, we started with the fried calamari. Batter was a bit overdone, turning brittle and somewhat hard in spots, but the squid itself stayed tender. I was please that the tentacles were included and the fried green beans were great, especially when dunked in the herb-y aioli.
Caesar salad was its usual reliable heavily dressed self. On the salty side here with bits of gorgonzola, as well as parm, and an anchovy on top. Very rich dressing, accented with dabs of Calabrian chile paste that cut through the heaviness.
The Portobello pizza is vegetarian, featuring a fennel-tomato sauce, fontina and strips of roasted portobello mushroom. The poofy rim of the wood-fired crust with its tender-chewiness still appeals to me. This pie was soggy in the center, suffering from too much cheese holding in the wetness.
My friend carried in a bottle Joseph Swan zinfandel. Corkage is $15.
Rosso is still a solid choice for a casual meal in downtown Santa Rosa. Good value, good local food.
Just want to post a recent update on Rosso. Stopped by last night on the long slog home down 101 during Memorial Day traffic. Great selection of wine by the glass, very friendly service, and the pizza was on point. We had the shaved asparagus pizza with ricotta and lemon zest - crispy and delicious. Split a meatball and buccatini, sauce was a little watery but bright and flavorful. Meatballs were tasty and moist. Finished with an arugula and artichoke salad. All in all, we couldn't have been more happy with our meal. Rosso is definitely going on our list of North Bay favorites. Like RWCFoodie above, I'm kind of glad they are an hour away from home - if it was closer I could see myself there weekly.