Dining out isn’t always just about food, but experience that accompanies it.
Not that diners need an excuse to enjoy one of Toledo’s better restaurants, but Rosie’s Italian Grille marking its 35th anniversary this year is as valid as any.
Other reasons include the delicious lobster bisque; the must-have appetizer hot mama bread with gooey cheese; the “house-made” pizzas; and separate but equally well-done lunch and dinner menus featuring pasta, seafood, chicken, and salad options.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Address: 606 N. McCord Rd.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Reservations are accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes
Average price: $$
Credit cards: AE, MC, V, D
Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Outstanding; ★ ★ ★ ★ Very Good; ★ ★ ★ Good; ★ ★ Fair; ★ Poor
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants.
The Blade pays for critics’ meals.
On a recent weekend dinner visit to this family owned restaurant, 606 N. McCord Rd. in Springfield Township, our dining marathon began with the aforementioned mama's bread ($8.59), light and bubbly with melted mozzarella, as well as the butterflied, baked, and seasoned bungalow shrimp ($12.99). Delicious and fresh, the shrimp, along with all of Rosie’s seafood, is never frozen but placed on dry ice in shipments picked up twice a week in Detroit.
MENU: Rosie’s Italian Grille
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Pre-entree salads were a light and refreshing Caesar salad with flavorful homemade croutons, and the mélange of taste in the house salad: It excelled at pairing a rich and thick Sicilian herb dressing (roasted tomatoes and other spices) with mandarin oranges and cranberry along with the lettuce to sweeten the bites.
The chicken Marsala ($17.99), as recommended by our server, was blanketed with garlic mashed potatoes and a thick sauce loaded with mushrooms; the spaghetti with its made-from-scratch sausage and meatballs in a complementary light sauce — as with most of Rosie’s the flavors and sauces are mostly subtle, working in conjunction with the other flavors on the dish — was better with each bite. Both are worthy of repeat orders.
The bowl of shrimp and lobster pasta ($22.99) — fork-sized pieces of crustaceans and linguine swimming in a zesty cream sauce with bite — was picture-perfect great but only good to the taste.
And because there is always room for dessert, a thick and generous triple-chocolate brownie, crunchy on the outside, soft and flaky on the inside, topped with a customer-friendly dollop of white cream, miniature chocolate chips, and drizzles of fudge; the cream was a nice contrast to the chocolate.
Our second visit, a lunch, started with crispy-fried calamari done right (not chewy or rubbery) with Peppadew peppers ($11.99), and a cup of Rosie’s locally famous lobster bisque ($7.59). It’s a recipe for stomach-warming perfection known only to a few; hint: It starts with fresh and generous hunks of lobster.
Our entrees were Rosie's deluxe pizza (pepperoni, sausage, bacon, onions, mushrooms, and red peppers, $15.99), the Philly roast beef and cheese Stromboli ($9.99), and an Italian grinder ($9.99), essentially an Italian sub (salami, ham, turkey, onion, tomato, banana peppers, mozzarella, provolone, and Italian dressing) served on a folded piece of pizza dough as bread.
The table’s consensus was to skip the stromboli and either split a pizza — they really are among the best in Toledo — or, depending on hunger level, order the hearty Grinder.
Our meals included exemplary service, particularly for dinner; the waiter, an employee of Rosie’s for several years, was well versed in the restaurant’s menu and general history. He noted, for example, that Rosie’s eponymous matriarch, well into her 90s, still makes visits to the restaurant to oversee the kitchen.
Decorated in a Tuscan theme with soft lighting for a romantic, dressed-up, and even quiet-casual meal, Rosie’s is a welcome reminder that dining out isn’t always just about food, but the joyful experience that accompanies it.
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