The newest trend in Rome these days is American style restaurants. And by American style I mean not only the design of the places, but also the menu.
What this means, of course, is that hamburgers are all the rage these days in Rome. In fact, there must be a new law that says that unless you have at least three kinds of hamburger on your menu, then you can’t open.
This is actually ok with me because I figure that the more places that start doing hamburgers, the better they will get, right?
One of the newest of these arrivals is Rosso. Located in the up and coming area of Viale Aventino, Rosso has taken over a large, loft-like, space which used to sell motorbikes. It says a lot about the state of the economy that a motorbike place would fail in Rome, yet a sleek, casual vaguely American looking, restaurant would appear to be a good investment.
And, in fact, it’s always full.
On a recent night we started out with icy cold vodka martinis, which were done just right (not always a given in Rome). Before we got to the main event – the burgers – we decided to try a few of the antipasti. The fritto misto, something that i usually avoid since it can often be insipid and greasy, was done just right. The meatball, bacala‘ and suppli were crisp, crunchy and boiling hot.
We all really loved the tasconi, which are basically little mini calzone. Ours were stuffed with a mixture of escarole, pine nuts, olives and capers, and topped with a big, fat anchovy. And the sprouts on the plate, which could have just been sad garnish, were actually spicy and crisp and a good contrast to the tascone.
We all split an order of panzanella which turned out to be the biggest surprise of the evening. Big chunks of toasted Lariano bread were tossed in a tomato and red pepper puree, and topped with a wedge of mozzarella di buffala. We were all fighting over the last, tasty bits.
The burgers: actually pretty good. I opted for the avocado and bacon version, while Gillian and Domenico went for the cheese burger. All were perfectly cooked, medium rare, and the beef was fatty enough to make the burger tender. Even the bun, topped with sesame seeds, worked.
The massive mounds of french fries were crisp and crunchy and basically what you want with the burger.
Mark, who had already been here several times since he works across the street, knew just what he wanted: cacio e pepe. Done pitch perfectly, it made him very happy.
We ended up lingering for a long time. The space is very comfortable and relaxed, with mismatched chairs, low lighting and soft music.
By the way, Rosso does have a full menu, it’s not just burgers. And they also have a lunch time buffet that runs from 7 to 11 Euros, depending on the size of your plate. You can also come by for breakfast, since they open at 7am.
Viale Aventino 32, Rome
Open daily, 7am – 1am.