Experiencing Rosie Cannonball for the first time is… well, it’s like opening a restaurant. Everyone dreams about it, but you must be a little bit eccentric to make it happen.
The lunch menu at Rosie Cannonball certainly seems eccentric, even a little off-putting. You’ll see the cute Little Gem Lettuces being served around the room and think “what a perfect starter.” Then you look at the menu and see they’re filled with smoked trout roe. I reacted as many might: “Not so fast there.”
How about the intriguingly named Matrimonio — a marriage of two types of anchovies with apples? Marinated olives? Or what of Brandade Tartine — salt cod served with pear mustard and celery salad?
I have to say that the starters on the menu don’t sound appealing, fantastic though they probably are. Instead, I settled on the Farm Greens Salad with radishes, pickled shallots, and fines herbes vinaigrette. The dressing was amazingly good, the veggies amazingly fresh. It was a conservative choice, but a great one.
Where the excellence of Rosie Cannonball really gelled for me was in the Chicken Basquaise, now one of my favorite chicken dishes in all of Houston. Part of the menu’s “From the Fire” selections, this expertly fire-roasted bird was seasoned impeccably and succulent from start to finish. It’s served with braised tomatoes, chorizo, peppers, and potatoes.
A special mention must go to those potatoes. Wow! Tenderly roasted in the chicken’s own fat, I’d eat these little spuds with just a little salt as a decadent feast by themselves.
On the menu you’ll see this quote from Federico Fellini: “Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” I agree with that philosophy! That’s why I found myself on a subsequent visit slurping away at Tortellini in Brodo. The tender mortadella and Parmesan-filled tortellini swam agreeably in an oh so soothing chicken broth. Perfect for a winter getaway, if we’d only have winter this year!
Other pasta I’m anxious to try includes Cavatelli Alla Bolognese made with Lambrusco, and Pappardelle with a variety of mushrooms in lemon ricotta.
Speaking of magic, you’ll also find a flatbread — Focaccia di Recco — for the king’s ransom of $22. Would you pay that for flatbread? You would if you knew that it was stuffed with mortadella and robiola cheese and that there is so much of it that it explodes into a warm texture dance in your mouth.
Well, I haven’t paid that yet, but rest assured, I’ll find a way to splurge on a future visit.
But splurge I have on Rosie Cannonball’s delectable Pumpkin Tart. Not quite as sweet as it sounds, the creamy and sandy tart is a wonderful foil for the brown butter pecan gelato it’s served with. Friends, this is the best gelato I have ever tasted.
Cocktails? From Rosie’s craft list I decided one called “Asking for a Friend” would be chic. Flavors of pineapple, Madeira, and something called “Swedish punch” made for a fine daytime refresher.
Don’t judge a restaurant by its menu? I’d usually say “What?” but in Rosie Cannonball’s case, it’s just what to do.