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Rosa Mexicana - First Avenue


rich
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I coudn't find a thread for Rosa Mexicana, except for Lincoln Center. If any of the moderators find one, feel free to merge.

Truth be told, my wife and I went last evening because someone had given us a gift certificate last Christmas and it was about to expire. We hadn't been there is some 20 years (when it first opened).

Well, I was very pleasantly surprised how good it was. First, we arrived at 7:15 without reservations and it was packed - both bar and restaurant. We were told it would be a 45-minute wait. After a few minutes we found a space at the bar and ordered some drinks and guacamole. The guac was served with both hard and soft chips - we ordered it spicy and it was. It was very good.

We finally sat down (at about the 45-minute mark) and ordered a bottle of Snoqualmie Petite Sirah - at $24 one of the best restaurant wine values around.

Appetizers were a smoked duck covered with chipotle sauce and a mushroom/cheese soft taco - served with two sauces (tomatillo & ancho). Both were very good - especially the moist, flavorful duck.

Entrees were two stuffed Ancho Chiles with beef tenderloin and spices - excellent meat quality and firey spices. My wife ordered the rare Ahi Tuna - terrific quality and presented in a sushi manner. The sides were house rice and black beans - both quite tasty.

The bill with tax came to $97 and my certificate was $125 - so I told the waiter to keep it.

But as in Union Square a few months ago (for those of you who read the post), the real highlight was the show. Next to us sat four botox women all having a good time and to their right sat two gay men.

One of the botox set was coughing and at one point one of the men said something to her about spreading germs. The lead woman, who was sitting next to the cougher, said something back. The discussion got somewaht heated. She said to the men that they shouldn't be sharing dessert because that's more dangerous than coughing.

One of the men called her a c--t and asked if she knew what her husband was doing right now since she certain didn't look like the type that could satisfy him. She then got up and went over to the manager to complain about their language, but not without a parting shot.

As she got up from the table she asked the man if he knew what being on the "down low" meant. If not, he should look it up. When the manager came over to the table, the two men left before he could say anything.

That's what's great about NYC, you never know when you'll be treated to dinner and a show.

The food was very good - I would return with or without the botox set.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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An interesting thing about the Rosa chain is how much better the East Side one is than the Lincoln Center one. (I've never eaten at the Union Square one).

Everytime I eat at the East Side branch, I'm pleasantly surprised by how good it is, given their terrible repuation.

Everytime I eat at the Lincoln Center branch, I wonder why there isn't a horde of former customers approaching the place with torches, like the peasants in Frankenstein.

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An interesting thing about the Rosa chain is how much better the East Side one is than the Lincoln Center one.  (I've never eaten at the Union Square one).

Everytime I eat at the East Side branch, I'm pleasantly surprised by how good it is, given their terrible repuation.

Everytime I eat at the Lincoln Center branch, I wonder why there isn't a horde of former customers approaching the place with torches, like the peasants in Frankenstein.

In that sense it's like Peter Luger. The Brooklyn site is okay, but the Long Island branch is terrible.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Truth be told, my wife and I went last evening because someone had given us a gift certificate last Christmas and it was about to expire. We hadn't been there is some 20 years (when it first opened).]

There are no clickable smiles to convey my amusement at your story. Very funny.

I don't know what the bad rep sneakeater was referring to (I'm only a Californian who goes to NYC alot), but it's the only Rosa's we have been to. I would always recommend it to anyone. Even though it's a chain restaurant, they have succeeded in creating menus that look unique. They are flavorful and creative. I especially enjoy their chocolate specials. I forget but I think it's around Valentine's Day. You can get all courses in at least partial chocolate. Supposedly, a DC location will open soon, which is another place I go occasionally. Can't wait to check out the locations I have missed.

Also, you never know who you'll be sitting next to in a Manhattan restaurant. I consider those possibilities as a benefit, almost as much as I look forward to a particular restaurant. Thanks for the post!

John S.

San Jose, CA

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I was waiting on line outside of Smoke (jazz club) a few months ago and started a conversation with a man who is a partner in the Rosa chain. He explained that Rosa wholly owns the original 1st Ave location. We didn't talk about her stake in the other restaurants. But that would certainly explain the difference in quality between the original and all the other restaurants.

Edited by mikeyrad (log)
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Their guacamole, made in a pot carved from lava, is the best thing they have.

A flight of tequila tasters is always a good idea.

Avoid the chicken roasted in parchment paper. Wonderfully described but truly awful.

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Had lunch at the Union Square location some months ago. Didn't expect much and was really quite happily surprised. Particularly by the sauces. There is some rigor going on back in that kitchen.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Rich, thanks for the colorful post. That is a classic NYC moment indeed.

I had some great meals at the first ave. Rosa Mexicana years ago. Haven't been back in a long time, but have eaten at the Lincoln Center and Atlanta branches a number of times due purely to convenience of location. Never had a meal at either expansion location that I felt was worth the entry fee.

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