Monday, November 7, 2011


I'm really sorry I didn't snap a pic of Rubirosa's facade. It was cold and I was about to gnaw off my arm from hunger. Imagine an old school barbershop, pizzeria, and Rag & Bone store all in one. Totally hipster apropos.

The first thing I remember about my evening at Rubirosa was the Brawny man/Ryan Reynolds hybrid seated at the bar with his date. She was fawning all over him and understandably so. Dude was a fox! I may or may not have tried to nuzzle him while we waited (earmuffs, Samburger). Fifteen minutes past our 9:45 p.m. reservation my four pals and I were seated in the restaurant's middle dining room. 

Fun fact: Rubirosa is deceptively roomy; there are three separate dining spaces. 

Next to us was a party of 20-somethings celebrating a birthday. The girl seated at the head of the table was straight out of Black Swan, the vulture part. Girlfriend did not touch a bite of food all night! (I know because I kept looking to see if she was growing black feathers.) Barring the possibility that she may have been lactose intolerant, that was the greatest exercise of willpower I have ever seen.

Never hearing of such a word, our table went hog wild. One of my co-diners and I had even mentally concocted our orders earlier that afternoon.

Bruschetta: Meatball - besciamelle, tomato parmigiano; Tomato - mozzarella, balsamic, basil;
Mushroom - ricotta, parmigiano, pignoli nuts ($3/piece) 
We decided to amuse our bouches with some bruschetta. I opted for the standard tomato. I'm partial to the traditional diced variety so I was a bit disappointed with this "deconstructed" version. Either way, it was super tasty. The real star, however, was the meatball offering. I had major order envy after another of my pals was gracious enough to offer me a bite (read: she turned her head for a moment and I snagged that sucker). Wow wow wow. The meat was so tender, the sauce so meatballicious, and don't even get me started on the cheese. I contemplated ordering one, but then felt myself being judged by Black Swan girl. 

Arugula salad: tomato, ricotta salata, lemon vinaigrette ($10)
I normally hate arugula, but this was lovely. The lemon vinaigrette made it super zesty and light. 

Rubirosa salad: arugula, tomato, mozzarella, croutons, parmigiano, balsamic
Look at those slabs of parm! I so appreciate a restaurant that doesn't skimp on parm. We know it's expensive; we know your Mulberry Street rent is high. So kudos, Rubirosa, on going big where it counts. Despite my puny portion given the five-way split, I absolutely loved this salad. 

Ricotta ravioli: butternut squash, brown butter, sage ($25 - large portion)
Ricotta? Check. Butternut squash? Check. Happy Plebe? You betcha. It's hard to hate on something that combines two of my all-time favorite ingredients. The ravioli plus the squash was surprising light, but bang-on in flavor. I'll admit, though, I would've loved to see a little more cream in this dish. I'm gross that way. 

Vodka pizza: vodka sauce, fresh mozzarella ($16 - smaller portion)
Rubirosa had me at Vodka pizza. I had never seen such a novelty! I easily could've polished off the entire thing, but again fell victim to the five-way split. Sometimes having friends is a major inconvenience. I'm generally not a thin-crust gal, but this pie holds its own without the bulk. Not too crunchy, not too floppy. All-around incredible. Rubirosa's Vodka pizza will no doubt be a repeat offence.

Bianca pizza: ricotta, fresh mozzarella, parmigiano ($16 - smaller portion)
It was weird, I had a completely adverse reaction to the Bianca. What's there not to love about this orgy of dairy all-stars? I guess I'm just spoiled by Jane's rock-my-world version. My pals, however, greatly enjoyed it.

The menu boasts several stellar-sounding dishes, so if you can bear to share I suggest going with your gang and chowing down on as much as possible.

What makes Rubirosa so Plebe friendly are the gargantuan-sized portions. Those "small" pizzas easily fed five of us, as did the heaping platter of Ravioli. And despite the hipster crowd and uber-cool Soho address, the place is super casual, cozy and totally unpretentious.

Price: $110 + tip, split five ways.

235 Mulberry Street
(212) 965-0500
Definitely make a reservation, but call instead of using Open Table. 

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