Rossini's on 38th Street: Stuffing oneself with a favored Cephalopoda filled with crab meat and pine nuts
Rossini's is said to serve Northern Italian cuisine, as opposed to perhaps Frank's on 2nd Ave (have yet to visit) which seems to be southern, if not Sicilian. Frank is said to come from Naples, but the menu seems a nice variety. I have had strong recommendations for Frank's, and shall venture there, though Rossini's is deserving of strong recommendations as well.
Rossini's, not to be confused with the Italian composer with the same name, is found at 205 East 38th St. on the south side, just East of Park Ave. It is located a very short distance from the Kitano Hotel (serving jazz nightly on the second floor), across Park and down 38th Street.
My first impression of Rossini's was a good one, but it became better upon eating the remains of my meal as leftovers, in what may be termed time released flavors.
The restaurant has been in the same location for 35 years, so told to me by the kind gentleman tending to the elegant or classic decorated bar in the front. The atmosphere overall is very nice and relaxing, with live piano nightly in the dining area.
The food that I ordered was delicious. I ordered one of the many specials of that day. Two good sized Stuffed Squids or Calamari to use the Italian name (cuttlefish for those of UK origin and Ojinguh for those located on the Korean Peninsula ).
The stuffing was a mix of authentic crab meat (minced) with pine nuts and other herbs and spices, and fillings. The filling predominated by the minced crab meat was tucked fully into the Squid, causing them both to look expanded and bulbous. They were coated or topped with a mild oily sauce that had raw green stemmed items. The two good sized squids were not sliced or cut at all.
A small portion of linguini accompanied the two stuffed cephalopods, and the sauce used for this quite thin and light linguini was to me at first too sweet, though further tasting brought to me the fact that the sweet taste was manifested in the tiny chunks or bits of tomato, thus allowing other flavors apart from these bits of tomatoes to enhance the over all taste. The sauces of Rossini's are cooked over long hours, as I was told, with the red sauce(s) simmered with full leg of baby calves.
I ate one squid at the restaurant and consumed two 12 ounce Moretti Pilsners,one before the dish arrived and the other after the dish had arrived. The results, I felt more stuffed than perhaps the Squids themselves.
While I awaited the arrival of the dish in the comfort of the dining area, a basket of fresh Italian bread, thin wheat crackers and stick were placed on my table, along with a plate consisting of one medium sized slice of bread topped with chunks of tomatoes and herbs in an oil.
Something I found upon eating the remains of the meal (one stuffed squid and the bulk of the linguini) half a day later, as it sat unrefrigerated, was the flavor and taste was even better than when the meal was served fresh from the kitchen, making the overall mark for Rossini's on the grading scale, even higher than it was as I existed the restaurant quite stuffed.
I do not often dine in Italian restaurants, and this causes me to reserve such dining experiences for venues that offer exceptional dishes with either originality and creativity or authenticity, and Rossini's certainly is included here.