First Look: Italian Joint Rosario in Adams Morgan

Italian Restaurant & Bar Rosario Open in Washington DC:

Rosario, an Italian restaurant and bar in Adams Morgan, has been open for two months and is already in full swing. That was certainly the case during a recent visit, with the packed restaurant maneuvering Negroni Week, Pride Week, and Taste of Adams Morgan all in the same evening. If the kitchen & bar crew can deliver with that type of chaos, then you know you’re in good hands.

Rosario is the latest venture from Pint Size Hospitality Group, which has brought the city the likes of Meridian Pint, Brookland Pint, and Smoke & Barrel. The concept is a tribute to Rosario Patti, a mentor of executive chef Logan McGear, who previously served as chef at the latter of those three establishments. The team is rounded out by GM Bob Wagner, a vet of popular New York bars including Seamstress and Holiday Cocktail Lounge.

Chef McGear offers a lineup of antipasti with simple but well made grazers meant to be deployed with their warm Italian bread bowl, such as white anchovies prepared with fennel, garlic, orange zest and pine nuts, olive tapenade, and a roasted garlic bulb, along with small plates such as arancini Bolognese served with pesto, and a Sicilian style crab cake, breaded and fried, adorned with a duo of pistachio pesto and roasted red pepper sauce.

Pastas include classics such as linguine and clams, rigatoni Arrabiata and spaghetti Puttanesca, as well as a house Rosario rigatoni, with mortadella, pancetta, ricotta salata, and tomato cream. The fettucini meatball Bolognese features a generously constructed triple-meatball with beef, pork and veal centerpiecing a bowl with extra-wide fettucini noodles you’ll be rapidly  fork-twirling until the bowl is properly cleaned.

For heartier entrees, current options include pork cheek risotto and osso bucco, both of which still pale in comparison to the mammoth leg of lamb, served for two to three guests. You can also choose one of four proteins to customize a Marsala or Parmigiana course.

To drink, find roughly 20 wines, all available by the glass or bottle, and displayed on the menu with a helpful color-coded regional map of Italy. There’s also a lineup of apertivos, as well as half a dozen cocktails, including a mix of classics and new creations.

The Vintage Negroni for two is a bottled, barrel-aged rendition of their house Negroni. It’s poured and stirred tableside, and then served over ice, and while it was the obvious choice for Negroni Week it would work equally as well any other week of the year.

Elsewhere, the Rosario New Old Fashioned is made with Elijah Craig Small Batch and amaro, with a rotating cast of amaros being chosen on a daily basis, while the Rosario 50/50 Martini showcases a unique and well-balanced tandem of Fords Gin and Cocchi Rosa. Also expect half a dozen beers, along with a bar special every day of the week.

Rosario is also now serving what sounds like a killer brunch. Expect fare to interweave Italian classics with more traditional brunch choices, offering dishes such as cacio e pepe biscuits, veal Milanese “steak” and eggs, Italian breakfast sandwiches, and cannoli bomboloni. Wash it down with a lineup of five spritzes alongside other libations such as Bloody Marys and Garibaldis.

Visit RosarioDC.com for more information or check them out in person at 2435 18th St. NW.

Author: Jake Emen

I’m Jake, and I’m your host on this journey. I'm the man doing the eating and the talking around here. I’m a writer based outside of Washington, D.C., and I'm also talking whiskey, local events, travel, and other assorted misadventures. Follow me on the Tweet Machine - @ManTalkFood, or send an email to jake [at] mantalkfood.com.

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