So much of what goes into making a restaurant great is how that restaurant makes you feel to be there. Rubirosa is cool, plain and simple, and you feel cool when you come here to eat. I consider this an incredible feat for an Italian restaurant, considering most of them are very old school and stuffy. The people frequenting Rubirosa, however, are young, attractive and trendy, and the loud, crowded front gives the allure of a small, packed house (the place is actually deceivingly large and can house a lot of people). But don’t take the chance of not making a reservation if you’re more than two people; there’s a possibility you may not get in. Aside from its atmosphere, the food at Rubirosa is really solid too. The things that I liked I really liked; however, there were a couple items that fell flat. Overall, I highly recommend checking out Rubirosa; it’s Florence with a face-lift.
Carmelized Onion Bruschetta: This is a toasted piece of bread topped with braised duck, carmelized onions and a piece of pecorino. I was a little disappointed with this. I found that the bites with inconsistent. The bites that had the most onion were delicious, but the bites that had duck on it’s own left me feeling like the duck was a bit dry, and I don’t think I’ve ever said that about duck. I think I also would have preferred a thicker amount of pecorino.
The pizzas and pastas come in small and large sizes. The small is large enough to eat on your own, or split if you’re also getting a small pizza. And even if you go with a small pasta and a small pizza between two people, there still may be leftovers.
Ricotta Ravioli: Small ricotta raviolis with butternut squash, brown butter, sage and a balsamic drizzle. This was truly delicious. The perfect balance of salty and sweet, I just couldn’t get enough. If you don’t order this you will regret it.
Cavatelli: This came with broccoli rabe, sausage, garlic and oil, and it was another dish that I just couldn’t stop eating. The pastas are clearly the way to go at Rubirosa. This dish tasted thick and creamy, the sausage was fresh and nicely spiced and the broccoli rabe was cooked just right! I found myself licking the bowl clean by the end of the meal.
Vodka Pizza: This was incredibly good. The vodka sauce that they use is delicious, the fresh mozzarella is spaced perfectly, and that crust (oh that crust)… I just couldn’t get enough. If you’re going to order one pizza on this menu, you better be sure you order this one!
Arugula Pizza: This comes with arugula, cherry tomatoes, parmigiano and a balsamic drizzle. What I love most about the pizzas at Rubirosa is their thin, crispy crust and that gets lost here. Though the toppings are fresh and delicious, the thin crust is just too thin to hold up all the toppings. I felt like I was eating a salad and not a pizza.
Bianca Pizza: This pizza of ricotta, fresh mozzarella and parmigiano was rather unimpressive. Though the thin crust is delicious here, as well, I found this pizza to be a little dry, the ricotta was kind of grainy and the pizza in general was just lacking overall flavor.
House Wine: This is actually a good and reasonably priced house red wine. It’s nice split between two people.
Rubirosa: 235 Mulberry Street New York, NY ($$-$$$)