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Three's a Charm
by alanna hale on Jun 18, 2010
The team behind Beretta and Starbelly is at it again, cooly transforming the Marina’s old Fuzio restaurant into their successful breed of casual neighborhood eatery.
As the third restaurant from Adriano Pagannini, Deborah Blum and Ruggero Galdadi, Delarosa feels like a third restaurant; a careful amalgam of previous ventures well-tailored to the area it resides in. The space is a bit industrial with high ceilings, bare lightbulbs and the shimmer of stainless steel, but bright tangerine accents and leather seats soften the feel to create a modern space that glides seamlessly from day into night.
Low communal tables reinforce the informal feel while dim lighting flatters the young Marina crowd; the loud roar of said diners in good cheer forces a proximity usually reserved for a third date.
Operating continuously from 11:30am to 1am, Delarosa features inexpensive Italian fare perfect for a midday snack or a full evening meal. Built around Roman-style pizzas and rustic small plates, the menu recalls it’s predecessors favorites — Beretta’s meatballs in spicy marinara ($6) and eggplant caponatina with burrata ($9) appear — but with some welcome riffs and additions, like shatteringly crisp brussels sprouts served with a side of piquant caper aioli ($6) and sections dedicated to paninis, house-made pasta and spiedini (skewers of meat or fish). With nothing over $15 and plenty of vegetarian options to choose from, the menu is homey and built for sharing.
Any of the 12 pizzas certainly attract, and with 8 possible additions like spicy coppa ($4), burrata ($4) and egg ($2), it’s easy to tailor any pizza to your liking. Delarosa’s airy, moist pizza crust may deviate from the traditional thin Roman one, but who can quibble with a bold and perfectly balanced fennel sausage, tomato, scamorza, and green onion pie ($14)?
Scallops spiedini ($15) are sweet and tender under a crème brûlée-like crust, with bright citrus, braised leeks and thin slices of fingerling potatoes promoting the dish into entrée-worthy status. Beef spiedini with arugula, onion, carrots and balsamic ($13) is equally hearty, and the orecchiette pasta with broccoli pesto ($9) has a pleasantly vibrant, unexpected bite.
Bombolinis, the Italian version of doughnuts, are usually filled with cream or jam and then dusted with sugar, but here the house-made Bomboloni Caldi ($7) is served with small dishes of chocolate sauce, mascarpone cream and raspberry purée on the side. Light and fluffy — and served warm — this is a much better bet than the Coppa Mela ($7), a room-temperature apple pie stuffed into a sundae glass and then suffocated beneath a droopy mess of vanilla gelato, crème anglaise, and spiced caramel sauce.
There are the seasonal craft cocktails and food-friendly wines we’ve come to expect from big sister Beretta — the tequila sour ($9), with reposado tequila, lemon, grapefruit, egg white and absinthe is a lovely and surprising twist on the familiar — but the highlight here is beer, with 14 of them on tap and 16 more in bottles, judiciously selected by certified cicerone (beer sommelier), Rich Higgins. The helpful descriptors on the beer list are key, and confident bartenders can navigate the list with ease.
Service is among the friendliest in town, smartly paced and astonishingly unaffected by a full house. Call ahead within 45 minutes of arrival to put your name on the list to seriously whittle down the wait.
Reservations? Only accepted for parties of six or more.
by alanna hale on Jun 18, 2010