I received an offer from Blackboard Eats for lunch at Rubirosa, which recently opened on Mulberry St. between Prince and Spring. I was not familiar with it, but a bit of research turned up only positive comments, so 3 of us went for lunch yesterday. We were surprised (pleasantly) to find that the chef is Al Di Meglio, who we knew when he was chef at the now defunct Olana. Several other alumni of Olana are also now at Rubirosa. It's a very casual place with reasonable prices and food that is mostly old-fashioned, red-sauce Italian, but of very high quality.
We shared several dishes, and Al sent out a couple of extra ones for us to taste. The classic tomato and cheese pizza was superb, with a thin, crunchy crust that did not get soggy even though we were nibbling it throughout the meal. The fried calamari and zucchini were perfectly cooked and tender, the rice balls were light as a feather, and the mozzarella sticks, though not outstanding, had a very tasty breading. All of these came with the same delicious marinara for dipping. The small size pastas were actually quite generous portions. We loved the manicotti and the cavatelli with broccoli rabe and sausage, and a special of chocolate ravioli with eggplant and duck ragout may sound odd but it was really delicious. We thought we could not manage dessert, but the cannoli were irresistible, light and flaky and delicious.
In addition to the appetizers, salads, pastas and pizzas, the dinner menu includes a few meat and fish main courses. We will definitely be back to try them. There is a short wine list and some excellent beers on tap or bottled.
The long, narrow space is nicely broken up so the noise level doesn't get intrusive even when the place is filled.
235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012