This compact space is a temple to cured meats. Chef Cesare Casella has created a showcase for dozens of varieties of prosciutto, coppa, mortadella, and more, carved from a professional slicer for consumption on the spot or as indulgent take-out. There's also a more ambitious menu, including salads and a lusty osso buco over creamy mashed potatoes. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the avuncular chef with his signature rosemary sprig peeking out from his breast pocket. There's a spin-off with a more elaborate menu on the Upper East Side.
Feb 17, 2015
My spouse and I dined at Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto for brunch on a Sunday in late December 2014. The flagship location of Salumeria Rosi is located on Amsterdam Avenue between West 73rd and 74th Streets in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan. (Another location in NYC called Salumeria Rosi Il Ristorante is located on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side.) Additional Salumeria Rosi restaurants are located in Paris, France and Parma, Italy.
We booked a table to dine using the Open Table reservation system; the host granted our special request to sit at the salumi counter. The Rosi family, who hail from Parma, Italy, owns this restaurant. (Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese also originate in Parma.) Chef Cesare Casella demonstrates his skills at this restaurant; he was working behind the counter on the day that we dined, wearing his trademark sprig of rosemary in his jacket pocket. His love of rosemary represents his dedication to fresh ingredients, his herb-influenced cuisine, and his Tuscan childhood where rosemary grew wild and his family ran a small trattoria. The restaurant set a sprig of rosemary at each place setting as well, which was a fragrant and rustic touch. We first heard about Salumeria Rosi on Anthony Bourdain’s show called “Food Porn”, and we have been trying to dine there ever since. (For some unknown reason, we rarely find ourselves on the Upper West Side of town, so we never had the opportunity to dine at Salumeria Rosi before.) The restaurant/shop occupies a small storefront on Amsterdam Avenue. This establishment does a booming takeout business at their deli counter. (A special catering menu is available if you plan to feed a larger crowd.) Prices on the deli meats, cheeses, dried pastas, and so on seemed reasonable, especially for Manhattan. You can sit in the regular dining room at small tables, outdoors on the sidewalk in warm weather, or at a small counter where you can watch the chefs work. The dining room is not large – perhaps six or eight small tables, along with four places to dine at the counter. No coat check is available; in fact, when we arrived with our small 21” rolling suitcase (we were en route from our hotel back to our transportation), we initially puzzled the host when we asked him to store it. A unisex bathroom, located at the rear of the restaurant, features Chef Casella’s many awards. Assiagi (tastings) of meats and cheeses are available for lunch and dinner, in addition to the regular menu. We shared both a meat tasting and a cheese tasting. The cheese tasting consisted of three kinds of cheeses, each accompanied by its own mostarda/garnish. The meat tasting (we ordered the small size) consisted of two+ slices each of six+ different meats. After our two tasting courses, we shared two hot dishes: the meatball special (served atop polenta garnished with tomato sauce) and an AMAZING dish called pancia (pork belly dish served with chick peas, greens, and garnished with crispy pig skin). For dessert, we shared banana bread pudding, served warm. The restaurant offers only two types of beer (blonde and dark), along with a more extensive selection of wines and cocktails. We will definitely return to Salumeria Rosi – we can envision stopping in for takeout to enjoy a picnic in Central Park, or dining at the Upper East Side location if we desire a more formal meal.