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Thursday, April 13, 2023

A lovely experience of Italian Cuisine


Rosa Ristorante

A lovely experience of Italian Cuisine

Story by Bob Gourley

Photography provided by Rosa Ristorante


It is a long way from the bustling restaurants on the Strip to the quieter confines of Henderson. But Rob Moore, who is Owner/Executive Chef at Rosa Ristorante, is enjoying himself as he carves his own niche. He admits that it is difficult for independent restaurants to survive against the large chains because of their marketing budgets, but he considers himself a survivor. He remembers those days at the Bellagio’s Prime Steakhouse when they were doing 400 covers a night. The vibe is decidedly calmer at Rosa, but locals are discovering that the ambiance is just right for the area.

There is an open kitchen where you can keep an eye on the proceedings plus a popular bar area. A patio space is available for larger parties. One eye-catching bit of décor is the large wall of rose wallpaper that sets the mood and defines the ambiance. 

Moore describes the food as Italian/American, “It is based off of stuff that I loved to eat when I was growing up.” The classics are there, but there are some surprises as well; he is still working on which dishes work best. After the evaluation is finished, he will be featuring seasonal fare.

As we arrived on a bustling Wednesday evening we looked forward to our first starter. One of the most popular appetizers are Cheesy Risotto Fritters. These flavorful balls are filled with Pecorino Romano cheese and basil aioli then deep-fried. There is a crunch on the outside and a burst of flavor inside. Crispy Calamari is another crowd-pleasing starter. The squid arrives lightly battered and fried with a twist of spicy marinara sauce offered for frequent dipping.

For those who want a sushi-type experience, order the Amberjack Crudo. The thinly-sliced fish arrives uncooked with charred scallion and preserved lemon vinaigrette for a tangy finish. Beef Carpaccio is also available. Entrée-size salads include those you might expect at an Italian establishment, such as Caesar with salami and a baby beet selection with goat cheese, toasted pistachios, arugula and aged balsamic.

There is a quartet of pastas, but I highly recommend the Rigatoni Alla Vodka. I have enjoyed this dish in many places around town, but this version is one of the best I have found. Hot and sweet Italian sausage is combined with the noodles and creamy tomato sauce for a memorable taste.

Entrees are highlighted with a traditional chicken parmesan that includes a generous piece of meat surrounded with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. If you are longing for some beef, there are grilled ribeye medallions with homemade steak sauce. Roasted Branzino, a Mediterranean whitefish, is prepared with herbs, fennel, and preserved lemon. Mashed potatoes finish off the plate.

There aren’t too many places that serve lobster pizza but there is one on the menu here. Priced at $34.00 the toppings include three cheeses, fennel, and preserved lemon. Other pies include a spirited margherita, sausage, and kale pie, plus a mushroom offering.

You won’t want to miss dessert, all handmade on the premises. You must save room for the Butterscotch Budino (Italian pudding), which is fantastic. This one arrived in a large glass with caramel sauce and whipping cream plus chocolate sprinkles on top. Even though we were stuffed we devoured this creation in a few minutes. Another favorite is cheesecake, also sitting in a big glass with strawberry compote and crème fraiche. 

Rosa isn’t open for lunch, but there is a Sunday Brunch that is served from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Truffle scrambled eggs are featured, along with homemade cinnamon rolls and brioche French toast.

If you are looking for a libation you might want to consider one of their premium cocktails. The Pineapple/Basil Smash is made with Ford’s Gin, Green Chartreuse, pineapple juice, lemon and fresh basil. Anthem Powerade is a collection of Cio Ciaro Amaro, orange juice and mint.

Rosa’s also offers a nice wine list with some creative options for vintages by the glass. A sparkling Le Grande Courtage Blanc de Blanc is available for $12. On the red side of things, you might try Banshee Pinot Noir from Sonoma County for $14.

Locals are enjoying Perfect 10 Happy Hour, which extends into early evening. A list of select wines by the glass, signature cocktails, two draft beers and chef’s choice pizzas are all priced at $10. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 3:00-6:00 p.m. and 8:00-9:00PM, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 3:00-6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. closing in the bar and lounge area.

Rob Moore likes the challenge of building a restaurant from scratch, perfecting the menu, and providing the best service. Things are cooking at Rosa, and you will enjoy the vibe and creative cuisine.


Rosa Ristorante

3145 St. Rose Pkwy, Henderson


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