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May 15, 2012 09:32 PM

5/15/12 Rosa Mexicano Report

There was tons of street parking when we went to Rosa Mexicana(RM) last night at 6pm (meters stop at 6 btw.) This is the opening week for this higher end Mex restnt, (the 15th RM to open in the USA.) RM began in NYC some 15 yrs ago , the outgrowth of a wildly popular street taco stand.,and it is in the middle of a major new phase of menu-revamping and aggressive growth.)

I don't know if it was because of the drizzly weather yesterday, but one bonus for going to the Seaport for dinner was the strong smell of the sea in the air. As we became conscious of it, we felt like "Ah, yes, we are in Boston ,and Boston is on the!"
RM is in a very large space, though it is surprisingly comfortable for talking. I must say that I was very surprised that the interior design was so bad. In fact, it makes me seriously wonder if there WAS an interior decorating firm involved. The whole thing kind of feels like somebody's rather boring rec room. Ugly wood floors and tables,forgettable fabrics,unattractive retro? lighting, the d├ęcor was completely disjointed. And in the midst of all this blah, there was one neat feature- a cobalt blue tile waterfall wall with tiers of small sculpted divers. While it could have been ever so much more interesting as an artwork,I still enjoyed sitting in a banquette opposite it and watching it all night.

The food concept at RM appears to incorporate both innovative and authentic, and they pay particular attention to their sauces, which are multi-layered and complex, a major plus for me.
We began with the trio of ceviche (tuna, scallops and escolar [fish of the day]). The ceviche are the creation of the new Executive Chef, Darren Carbone (formerly of Douglas Rodriguez's Phila. empire, and La Verdad here.)The stand-out was the scallops, as beautiful , silky- creamy as I've ever tasted, in a burnt orange chile vinaigrette with poblano peppers and hazelnuts. While I am a big time lover of sushi, most ceviche has left me cold, so I was really taken by surprise when I took my first bite, and fell in love. We quickly ordered a second serving. The tortilla and chicken soup had a smoothly complex chile pasilla base with moist chicken, ripe avocado and melted cheese, and though it was served underheated, we made quick work of it. The octopus with potato, yucca and olives was the only loser app. While all the subsidiary elements and the aioli- were very successful, the octopus itself had a very odd flavor (that I could neither explain or identify- maybe tin.)
My Love's entree was Escolar atop a Pipian Verde with roasted beet chimichurri and potato chorizo salad. A Pacific fish rarely served in the U.S. , the meaty white escolar was pristeen and perfectly cooked,and its unique flavor was allowed to be the feature of the plate, not drowned by its ground pumpkin seed tomatillo sauce. The chorizo potato salad was surprisingly insipid, but the bright flavors of the roasted beet chimichurri paired very well with the fish and sauce. My red snapper was marinated in a Yucatecan orange chile preparation and served with a very fresh tomatillo and roasted garlic salsa, a perfect foil for the subtle heat of the marinade. The refried black beans were elegant and flavorful and , for a complete surprise, accompanied by the best brown rice I have ever been served.(Now I HAVE to find out what made it so great.) The red sangria was fine and not over sweetened; one unusual aspect was the presence of a very refreshing cubed cucumber and fruit mix . Food delivery from the kitchen was well paced. Service was warm, welcoming and professional. Thanks to CHs for early reporting on this place; we enjoyed ourselves and look forward to returning.

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  1. Am I reading correctly from the Lone Star thread, that you did Lone Star and Rosa Mexicano in the same night?

    1 Reply
    1. Nice report op-chef. Need to get there. My mouth is watering to try the brown rice, as most Mex restaurants don't do rice all that great.

      1. Enjoyed my meal @ Rosa Mexicano's Washington DC outlet--good guacamole, but still pales compared to Oyamel.

        1. Thanks for the detailed report OC. I've been avoiding all the new upscale Mexican places, but your review encourages me to try this one. I"m guessing that the main dishes are the way to go here. Agree?

          2 Replies
          1. re: gourmaniac

            Not quite. That scallop ceviche was one of the most ethereal experiences I've had. Plus, the non-large plates list is quite extensive and we only had the soup and the octopus.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Glad you liked the scallop. It was our favorite dish as well. I was scraping the extra sauce onto anything available.

          2. I went with four people on the same night but had a different opinion of the experience. I liked the atmosphere, it was comfortable and not at all crowded or too loud. However we felt that the food was all about the presentation and rather mediocre.
            We had: fish tacos, chicken tinga enchiladas and some other chicken dish. All fair but not great. Every dish looked fantastic but the flavors lacked depth and were just blah.

            We had the guacamole (spicy although it really wasn't very spicy). The guac was good - everything in it was fresh and the home made tortillas served with it were fantastic.

            Overall - not bad but just not that great.

            1 Reply
            1. re: emc

              well darn. i WANTED those fish tacos but i guess i wanted red snapper more. So the sauce didn't do much, eh?