Inthe wake of Hurricane Sandy, it is wonderful to see the restaurants of lowerManhattan bouncing back, with queues of people snaking out of their doors once more. This iscertainly the case at Rosemary’s, a bustling West Village trattoria that willdelight locavores – those with a passion for locally grownfood. I first sampled chef Wade Moises’s simple pasta and primi dishes late last summer, when the eatery was infull open-air mode – its floor-to-ceiling glass windows were wide open and therewas an inviting hum in the air.
Thelofty informality of the room really sets the mood: rustic,exposed rafters and simple parquet floors are reminiscent of a Tuscanfarmhouse; potted plants and tiny strings of white lights contributeto the chic barn effect, and the cheerful cacophony – not to mention thelong wait for unreserved tables – whets the appetite for an atmospheric meal.
Inaddition to a simple, delicious menu – everything from house-made testa tobistecca gran mela for two, via endless antipasti and insalate – there is an urbanagrarian vibe. The staff are knowledgeable about daily specials andtake great pride in explaining ingredients that have been sourced from the restaurant’s rooftop garden (third picture) in the warmermonths.
Themenu has a classic Italian bias and lends itself to sharing; small plates of warm olives, auberginecaponata and zucchinicrudo, as well asfocaccia with rosemary and Maldon sea salt, make perfect starters, as do classic platters of mixed salumi.I loved a simple celery Caesar salad with flavourful breadcrumbs,calamari infused with chilli oil and the bowls of pasta – orecchiettewith homemade sausage and good old spaghetti al pomodoro, which was one of the best I’ve tried. Sides of braised greens, roastedpotatoes and seasonal squash round out meals that are furtherenhanced by one of the restaurant’s reasonably priced wines and microbrewed beers.
Iam already looking forward to a springtime visit when the windows will onceagain be flung open and the rooftop farm will be in full bloom. In themeantime, I’ll just have to settle for a hearty acqua pazza –its version of this seafood stew in “crazy water” incorporates preservedlemon potatoes and pesto crostini – served with a heavy dose of New Year’s cheer.