In the past decade a growing and welcome trend has been the emergence of restaurants by accomplished chefs moving from executive chef positions on the Strip to open their own creations in the suburbs, with the same refined quality but at reduced prices. One such noteworthy new find is Rosa Ristorante, owned and helmed by Rob Moore, who after 25 years of executing menus of renowned establishments now has free reign to create his own.
Moore grew up in New Jersey and is a graduate of the Hudson County Community College culinary program. After gaining valuable experience in eateries in New York during the 90s, in 2004 he made the jump to Vegas, where he spent several years as executive chef at Prime Steakhouse at Bellagio and Jean Georges Steakhouse at Aria.
Rosa Ristorante takes its name from the mural of roses painted across the back wall of the restaurant, complemented by red banquettes throughout the space. Other design elements include dark wood walls, exposed red brick, wooden tabletops and tile and wood flooring, mirroring the vibe Moore experienced in New York and New Jersey.
Several of the menu offerings are decidedly Italian, which reflects Moore’s Italian-American heritage and upbringing. Moore describes his menu as a way to “have fun again and cook food that makes me happy and make food I gravitate towards when I’m back home.”
A worthy example is the cheesy risotto fritters, similar to arancini balls, but a creamier rendition packed full of Pecorino Romano and served with basil aioli. Another great starter is the baby beet salad with goat cheese, toasted pistachio, arugula and aged balsamic.
Pasta is well represented by rigatoni alla vodka with hot and sweet Italian sausage with smaller slices being spicy and larger ones less so, just like Moore’s grandmother used to do when he was a kid.
Pizzas are enhanced with a dough that is both crispy and chewy, with five variations such as four cheese Roma with prosciutto & arugula and pesto with sliced tomatoes and basil.
As Chef Moore’s professional background has been mainly in top-end steakhouses, not surprisingly there are quality cuts including NY strip, ribeye, filet mignon and T-bone, which are accompanied by house-made “Robchurri” with chopped herbs, garlic, chili flakes and EVOO; or the thick “Rosa” steak sauce made with 30 ingredients.
Other entrée options include swordfish picatta, roasted branzino, lobster fra diavolo, chicken breast and korabuta pork chop.
My recommendation for dessert is the very unique butterscotch/caramel budino topped with salt, which is so good you may need to order two.
The menu has a wide range of prices allowing for practically anyone’s budget, with pizzas large enough for two $15-$18 and salads and small plates mostly $13 to $16. And, a twice daily happy hour offers chef’s choice food specials, two draft beers, cocktails and glasses of wine, all priced at $10.
The location on St. Rose Blvd. is prime and easy to get to, just east of Seven Hills/Spencer, a few miles in either direction from the I-15 or 215 freeways.
3145 St Rose Pkwy #120
Henderson, NV 89052