I am all for interesting interpretations of classic dishes, and I am eager to try Rosaline at some point.
WTF is with this Lomo Saltado shot from LA Weekly?
I have had my share of this dish - and even made one in a Peruvain cooking class in the Sacred Valley - and those papas are just not right.
Californication? Obligatory embryo, ¿no?
Yeah, it’s supposed to be french fries isn’t it??
Too bad, because the rest of the menu looks pretty interesting!
Yah, this looks like a departure from the dishes served at Mo Chica (their lomo saltado being one of our favorites), which were just a slightly refined version of dishes served at Peruvian spots in L.A… This could be an attempt at “deconstruction”? Either way, I’m not holding it against them (yet) and am looking forward to Rosaliné.
[quote=“CiaoBob, post:2, topic:5892”]
a Peruvain cooking class in the Sacred Valley
Okay, I’m looking at the menu. Everything seems to have a twist. I know it’s unfair to want one restaurant to be just like another - artistic freedom and all. But the menu seems smaller and has none of his tasty cebiches.
Oh well, as long as it’s delicious. I’ll just adjust my expectations. There are still enough Peruvian places around town to enjoy the straight ahead stuff.
I think that might be because he is serving his straightforward stuff at Mamacita?
Rosaline has a separate ceviche menu that isn’t shown on the web site.
Oh sweet. I knew about Mamacita and would go if in the neighborhood. But it’s not exactly what I had in mind. Thanks
When Mo-Chica first burst onto the scene, I remember the buzz on our old board about this new place that was delivering a modern take on Peruvian cuisine by a chef named Ricardo Zarate. I liked the early days of Mo-Chica, and there were a few dishes that we had back then that really were interesting and tasty.
Towards the end of Mo-Chica, it didn’t feel as inspired when we went again. Our one visit to Picca, the 2nd restaurant opened up by Chef Ricardo Zarate, felt like an OK experience, but nothing amazing. Later on we would find out through various news reports that Chef Zarate wasn’t present at any of his restaurants, and that he hadn’t been there for a while. He was ousted and all of his restaurants at the time were eventually shuttered.
It seems Chef Zarate is back (after a few years hiatus) with a new restaurant, Rosaline. Reading the reports about Rosaline, he’s been saying he’s inspired / reinvigorated, and the restaurant is even named after his mother. We were excited and curious to see if this would be like the more inspired cooking in Mo-Chica’s early days, or something like Picca, or something else entirely.
Opened along the trendy stretch of Melrose formerly occupied by Comme Ca (across from Luques), there was a sizable crowd (especially around the bar area) as we arrived. This looked like the expected Melrose crowd, and we could hear the shouting and laughter from the street before we entered.
The interior has been completely redone: Nothing inside reminded us of Comme Ca at all, with the main dining room’s ceiling removed and a skylight added.
While it may look beautiful, it also means there’s no sound dampening as the roof is all glass. And sure enough, we had to scream at each other to even have a conversation throughout dinner. This is one of the loudest dining rooms we’ve been in around L.A.
Jab to the Jaw (Cactus Pear & Strawberry Brandy, Lemon, Orgeat, Chinese Five Spice, Fermented Fruit):
This was OK. It tasted like an alcoholic Fruit Punch. I couldn’t taste any Chinese Five Spice. At $15 (+ tax & tip) for this Cocktail, it’s definitely one of the pricier ones around town.
Chilcano (Acholado Pisco, Ginger Kombucha, Peruvian Aperitif, Lime, Bitters):
This was better. I enjoyed the Ginger Kombucha, but this really tasted like an alcoholic Kombucha drink more than anything, the Pisco was there, but Kombucha’s flavors are so distinct (that funky fermented carbonation) that it’s what dominated the flavors.
Tiradito de Concha con Erizo (Live Scallops, Sea Urchin, Uni Leche de Tigre, Crispy Garlic):
The description sounded fantastic. The execution and taste? Not so much. The Live “Scallops” (plural) from the menu description was more generous than what we got, which was 2 tiny slivers of Scallop (which felt more like 1 Scallop cut in half), topped with mediocre Uni. Inconsistent Uni strikes again! @J_L @PorkyBelly and all.
And at $22 for this tiny little dish (it was seriously like 2 small bites for both of us), it felt even more disappointing.
35 minutes later, our 2nd dish appears.
Aceitunas (Marinated Spicy Peruvian Olives, Eggplant Puree, Cancha Corn, Turmeric Flat Bread):
This was delicious! Marinated Olives, some Eggplant Puree were all nicely seasoned, and there was the crunch of the Fried Corn Kernels. When added to some of the Turmeric Flat Bread, and it made for a great starter.
However, we asked ourselves, “Is this really Peruvian?” It tasted more like a Middle Eastern Meze, something inbetween a Hummus and Babaghanoush, but either way, this was the highlight of the evening.
Solterito (Lima Beans Salad, Avocado, Blistered Cabernet Tomatoes, Pickled Onions, Feta, Botija Olive, Choclo Corn):
This Salad was merely OK: The Lima Beans tasted mustier than usual, a dank earthiness, which the Avocado (just creaminess) didn’t really help. The Tomatoes did add a little bit of acidic pop, but they don’t taste like the best Tomatoes of the season yet (still overly tart), and then you have heavy, funky Feta Cheese and more piquant flavors with the Pickled Onions.
45 minutes later, our next course finally shows up (and this after we asked our server to check on the entrees).
Arroz Con Mariscos (Sea Urchin, Diver Scallops, Tiger Prawns, Manila Clams, Seafood Rice):
This tasted like a really wet, soggy “Seafood Rice Stew / Gumbo” more than anything. The Scallops and Clams tasted fresh, but the Sea Urchin had some of that bad ocean funk (not fresh), and the whole dish didn’t really taste like anything more than a failed Paella (they also had Paella on the menu, but @J_L and others who like socarrat - that crispy rice bottom that sticks to the pan - should skip that. We saw close up from all our neighboring tables that it had no socarrat (it looked really wet / soupy) and they scraped to the bottom of the pan with nothing to see (no socarrat).
One hour later… (and after a few polite inquiries to our server), we canceled the rest of our meal and asked for the check, it was almost 3 HOURS total and we got tired of waiting.
We’ve seen so many restaurants open up in L.A., and it’s understandable. Things get backed up; the kitchen or entire operation just isn’t prepared, and stuff like this happens. But it was a total mess. Our partial dinner was nearly 3 hours long, filled with long waiting periods, and it was worse by the blaring music and zero sound dampening / reflective surfaces, so every table was yelling, making everything even louder.
Not only did we not get our dishes, but 2 other tables near us were waiting on forgotten dishes as well (we could overhear them complaining and looking bored / upset waiting).
It’s too early to tell how Rosaline will do, but based on the initial dishes we tried, there wasn’t a single dish that was as interesting as what we had at Mo-Chica during its early days. The dishes ranged from OK to mediocre, and we would’ve tried more dishes if the kitchen didn’t forget about the rest of our order (and many others’ as well).
As we left, we saw Chef Zarate just standing there, not really busy, and seemingly oblivious to how backed up the tables were. There was also zero turnover in our almost 3 hours, with the food being so slow, none of the tables turned over to a new seating because things were taking so long. It’s not the utter disaster that is Verlaine, but @CiaoBob and others might want to wait a few weeks in the hopes he figures things out and smooths out the operations, as well as improve the flavors on the menu.
8479 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Tel: (323) 297-9500
I am in no rush - have not loved any of his places very much. Perus taste in the valley is better than he will ever get. Thanks for the post.
You’d know Mr. Sacred Valley Peruvian Cooking Class Taking Guy.
@TheCookie Mo-chica’s Lomo Saltado was simple and delicious…likely one of the best renditions of that dish I’ve ever had. Seeing Chef Zarate’s new dishes and menu…and @Chowseeker1999’s experience, I may be less inclined to check out Rosaline. I’m glad that Raku softened the blow of a lackluster meal service for you!
[quote=“attran99, post:13, topic:5892”]
Mo-chica’s Lomo Saltado was simple and delicious…likely one of the best renditions of that dish I’ve ever had.
[/quote]Yes, and I’m not a big beef lover. Sometimes one really good dish can color your whole opinion of a restaurant. Plus, Mo-Chica was a place the pups thought was cool and we could live with . I was sad to see it go.
I was there when they weren’t busy so didn’t experience the service issues @Chowseeker1999 did. But 30 to 60 minutes between courses is unacceptable.
tiradito de concha con erizo - live scallops, sea urchin, uni leche de tigre, crispy garlic
Unlike @Chowseeker1999, i got four pieces of scallop, what looked like two scallops cut in half, the crunchy scallop mantle, and two pieces of fresh sweet uni.
causita crocante - crispy potatoes, salted cod, seasonal pickles, wasabi dijon mustard sauce
These balls were delicious, crispy and creamy with a nice tang from the mustard sauce.
corazon anticucho - beef heart skewers, rustic rocoto pepper, feta cheese, walnut sauce
The hearts had a nice firm and tender texture, really good.
camaron a la plancha - blue prawns, yuzu kosho, charred lime
Nice flavor and char from the wood grill, shrimp was fresh and snappy.
arroz con mariscos - sea urchin, diver scallops, tiger prawns, manila clams, seafood rice
This was a generous portion of seafood, probably more seafood than rice. Each item was cooked perfectly, but like @Chowseeker1999, the rice was soggy. It doesn’t compare to the satsuki okayu at orsa & winston however.
lomo saltado - sauteed filet mignon, roasted tomatoes, braised cipollini, sunny side egg, kimlan soy dressing, tomato coulis
This was fine, the meat was tender, but as @CiaoBob noted the whole skin on potatoes don’t work, they just couldn’t absorb much of the sauce and flavor like french fries. My favorite part was the sweet and soft cipollini onions.
chancay con leche - Peruvian cake, goat’s milk manjar blanco, coconut milk, maracuya guava frozen yogurt, torched meringue, harry’s berries strawberries
Solid, really liked the torched meringue.
Nice pics and report as usual @PorkyBelly. I’m glad you went early enough that you didn’t have the bad pacing and service issues that we ran into.
Yah, your Ceviche definitely had more Uni and Scallops than we did! Either they were “pacing” out the Scallops & Uni (afraid they’d run out?) or they realized from your visit to ours that they’d make more profit giving less and charging the same amount.
The Crispy Potato Balls look delicious, I’ll keep that in mind if we ever find ourselves returning (not anytime soon though). I do hope they straighten things out.
The plating and your pictures are pretty. How was the Uni?
I was lucky to get some fresh uni with my ceviche, the uni in the seafood rice was just ok.
From “Annie Hall”: “There’s an old joke - um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, ‘Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.’ The other one says, ‘Yeah, I know; and such small portions.’”
Went Saturday night and was kind of amped for a few reasons: it’s walking distance from my place and I have had super delicious food at Zarate’s other establishments.
Super loud. Tables cramped up really close. Wonky service (server was very appreciative when I simplified my drink order, as if I was doing her a favor). The most dainty portions of everything, plated preciously. And pretty much devoid of wow factor.
Remember the old Adam West “Batman” TV show? When Batman and Robin would go into battle with the villain of the day, these big, bold brightly colored signs that read “BAM!!!” or “POW!!!” would pop up on the screen. Meals at Mo Chica and Picca used to produce the culinary equivalent of those exclamations on my palate. And those sensations were surprisingly missing from my experience at Rosaline. Can’t say that I am itching to return.
Thanks for saving me the trip. Was also excited to go due to past Zarate restaurant experiences but I have heard some very lukewarm things about this place, so I decided to hold off.