Rosa Mexicano

December 6, 2006

rosa-1.jpgOn December 5, 2006, six of us went to Rosa Mexicano, 62nd Street and Columbus Avenue, before a performance of La Bohème at Lincoln Center.  Well, Rodolfo was being sung by a Mexican, Rolando Villazón, and the conductor, Plácido Domingo, grew up in Mexico.  And I wore my red Mexican tie.  Our two godsons and their parents speak various levels of Spanish, although that was not in evidence.  Yes, I know it is a chain restaurant, but so are Gramercy Tavern, Daniel and Jean-Georges.   

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We were seated promptly and asked if we wanted a drink and if we would start with the guacamole; the answer to both was an easy: “yes.”  Ron had the house specialty: the pomegranate margarita, which looks like a sno-cone with cherry syrup.  He followed with a small pitcher of sangria to clear the taste.   I had two “traditional” margaritas:  poured from a cocktail shaker into a salt-rimmed martini glass; they were good.   

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The guacamole is prepared tableside in a big stone mortar from avocados peeled on the spot and various other ingredients in bowls on the serving cart. rosa-4.jpgWe ordered “mild,” but it seemed quite spicy.  Unneeded additional hot stuff is served alongside.  Bowls of nachos and baskets of sort of fresh, warm tortillas are put on the tables.  It is good as both cuisine and show.   

For my main course I ordered the tacos de cochinita pibil: slow baked achiote-marinated pork served in a cast iron skillet with charro beans, roasted corn esquites and salsa chile de arbol.  I thought that the pork and the beans rosa-5.jpgwere okay, but simple and boring.  The corn was excessively spicy.  Bowls of refried beans and rice and more baskets of tortillas were put on the table to share.  Ron had the same thing I did and was happier with it. 

Linda ordered the ensalada con atún: avocado leaf-crusted seared rare tuna served on a crispy black bean tostado over a shredded lettuce and avocado salad.  She said that the tuna was fresh and good, as was the salad; she skipped the mango-habanero salsa.  Russell had the pescado al guajillo: pan-seared filet of chilean sea bass with a jalapeño potato cake, swiss chard and guajillo chile-pineapple-passion fruit sauce.  He really liked the fish, but didn’t eat the other things.   Kent enjoyed the tacos de pollo asado: grilled sliced chicken served in a cast iron skillet with chihuahua cheese, charro beans, corn tortillas, roasted corn esquites salsa chile de arbol.  June liked her budín azteca: layered tortilla pie with shredded chicken, chihuahua cheese and chile poblano sauce.  To see the menu go to:  http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/rosa-mexicano02/menu1.html.  Well, actually it is the takeout menu for the 18th Street location, but it looks much the same as what we saw at the restaurant.  Rosa Mexicano’s own website is useless, which I find strange for such a commercial enterprise.   For dessert I had three scoops of ice cream: mango, peanut and mole; they were good, although I would not have been able to identify the flavor of the last two.  Kent had an elegant looking flan ; Russell had a chocolate soufflé; they both  pronounced them to be delicious.  Ron and June had coffee.The opera was sensational with an outstanding cast, but Domingo was booed by some for setting a faster pace than the great soprano was singing.

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