Restaurant review

Rosella: restaurant review in New York

Rosella sources its fish from local waters or sustainable farms in Europe and the United States
Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland

Like most businesses in the city, the restaurant industry is filled with rumors of disruption and change these days. Will the tourists come back? (Probably.) Will rents stay low? (No.) Will business lunch ever make a comeback, not to mention the good ol ‘midday salad, sneaking up on your messy cubicle? (Hmm.) Does Daniel Humm’s Twitter announcement that Eleven Madison Park will adopt a meatless menu in the immediate post-pandemic mean the death of haute cuisine as we know it? (Not likely.) Will the all-beef $ 30 gourmet burger last during this urgent, newly-revamped era, not to mention the New York steakhouse fueled by big cats and expense accounts, and the legions of sushi bros. to Zoom will they return to their ritualized windowless omakase bunkers and start paying thousands of dollars again for shreds of endangered tuna?

The big city steakhouse is probably safe for now, but if you want to get a taste of what the troubled future of that other big cat expense account destination, the Sushi Parlor, might look like, I suggest. to reserve a place at Rosella, which opened late last year in a comfortably stylish East Village space across from Tompkins Square Park. Sushi Master in Residence Jeff Miller went to college in Gainesville, Fla. And trained in Austin, Texas, instead of Tokyo, Osaka, or LA, and most nights you’ll find him cooking her nifty nigiri menu wearing a Florida Gators. cap on the head. Instead of a Japanese symbol or character, the restaurant is named after an Australian parrot breed (Miller first fell in love with cooking in Australia), and unlike many sushi restaurants more traditional of the city, Brazilian funk plays on the sound system. with the occasional sweet and bouncy song of The Clash.

Roselle.
Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland

But the biggest difference between Rosella and your average, muffled pre-pandemic omakase destination is the sourcing of your meal. There are no esoteric Hokkaido shrimp on the menu or delicate saori (fish needles) straight from the cold waters of Tokyo Bay. Most of the fish are local or come from sustainable farms in Europe or the United States. Sushi rice, mixed with vinegar and sake in the traditional way and mixed in wooden jars four times a day, is grown in California. The big pearly shrimps come from the Gulf, the scallops are hoisted from the rough seas off Montauk, and when Miller served me bigeye tuna one evening, he went to the trouble of explaining to me that the tuna was out of season now but his favorite supplier was keeping some prime cuts. in the back of the freezer to send to special customers.

My serving of bigeye tuna didn’t quite offer the opulent, forbidden belly pleasures of the best otoro gras from Tokyo or Spain, but the texture was more or less perfect and, at $ 7 a piece, it was about a third of the price. The tuna is served here as a spicy roll or generously sliced ​​over rice cakes, but my favorite iteration is a crudo composition that the kitchen rolls into tubes, dresses long ribbons of mint and mango, and plates in a basin of olive oil and coconut milk. If you like a bit of smoke, call the Rainbow Trout, which is treated with burnt applewood, or the amberjack, which is smoked with walnut wood – although for the ultimate in classic sushi enjoyment, I recommend the delicious Montauk scallops, which are garnished with lime bulbs to cut through their natural, almost fruity sweetness.

Clockwise from left: Spicy tuna roll, crudo and homemade ramen. Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland.

Clockwise from left: Spicy tuna roll, crudo and homemade ramen. Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland.

“This could be the future of sushi, Platty,” exclaimed my friend the Tokyo Whale, an old school connoisseur who has dined at venerable sushi destinations in Japan and New York. Like me, he couldn’t quite tell if his excitement was the product of the dinner itself or the fact that he must have subsisted for the past year in a sushi-deprived world filled with pandemic bean recipes. and random takeout bags. But like me, he was taken aback by the level of technical skill of Miller and his chef-partner sidekick, Yoni Lang, whose hometown culinary home happens to be New Orleans. We had some quibbles with the quality of the rice (it can be a bit tough), or the soy (mixed daily with dashi and sake), or the signature eggy house tamago, which is neither too soft nor too sweet. and that Miller is constantly restless, as the great masters of sushi in Tokyo do.

Unlike the great sushi masters of Tokyo, however, Miller and Lang aren’t weighed down by centuries of formal tradition, and they’re not afraid to push the limits here and there. You will find a refreshing oyster shooter on the omakase menu (with pomegranate juice and iced lime granita) and an inventive “hand-smothered roll” stuffed with shrimp and embellished with a real roux just whipped. You can get rice bowls speckled with marinated tomatillos at this neighboring establishment and excellent sushi and folded rice chirashi with chunks of avocado with the usual bounty of fish. The kitchen even serves a version of Malaysian laksa noodle soup and a nice homemade ramen served with a rich seafood broth, and if you still have room for dessert, there’s a chocolate crémeux topped with lees. of sake and a fresh Amazake rice pudding garnished with pieces of tangerine and a dash of whipped cream.

Clockwise from top left: Arctic char, scallop sushi and chirashi. Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland.

Clockwise from top left: Arctic char, scallop sushi and chirashi. Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland.

Amazake rice pudding with orange cream.
Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland


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