HOUReview

photo credit: Mikah Danae

Rosie Cannonball review image
7.6

Rosie Cannonball

$$$$

1620 Westheimer Rd, Houston
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

Anticipation is a hell of a drug. Whether it’s the rush of adrenaline before diving off of a cliff, the queasiness of a first date, or receiving a “your package has shipped” notification, there’s something about the build up to a great experience. And the Italian restaurant Rosie Cannonball in Montrose knows exactly how to wind you up. There’s fanfare with a splash of free lambrusco when you first arrive, luxurious and spacious seating, and gorgeous amber mood lighting. You’re almost holding your breath, expecting a truly stunning time through and through. But Rosie Cannonball just doesn’t stick the landing.

The restaurant feels stuck in time at golden hour. Its interior is dripping in custom millwork, inlaid rattan, and slabs of chiseled rock. The warm, inset lighting around the ceiling makes everything look ravishing and beautiful, including you, your date, and even the many houseplants throughout the dining room. It’s like the movie set of a restaurant that’s been there for decades, waiting for someone to switch the lights back on. Also, there are fabulous and frankly kind of sexy bathrooms you should very much check out.

Rosie Cannonball review image

photo credit: Mikah Danae

The meal starts with a complimentary splash of Lambrusco and a phenomenal blistered bean dish from the wood-fired grill. It’s smoky and bright with herbs and chili. This dinner is going to be incredible, you think. You feel as though you're about to slurp spaghetti while having your portrait taken, like a model laughing and raising a forkful of salad. The cacio e pepe pizza is indeed remarkable, with a crispy and charred crust. But the focaccia comes out sitting in a pool of oil, and the lamb alla genovese only has a schmear of the promised gremolata. The grilled pork chop is an overcooked brick. Then a terrified server awkwardly struggles with a plastic wand lighter for more than a little while, trying to flambé a tableside penne alla vodka. It’s all for show, not flavor. We’re not even sure why the simple, cheesy pasta was on fire at all. 

And as you sit there, hoping there’s some surprise or maybe even just another free lambrusco , nothing happens. You never dive off the cliff, the first date peters out into awkward silence, and your package? It got lost in the mail. All in all, Rosie Cannonball is a place where you go with your friends to feel bougie and drink wine and not pay much attention to the food, which is only occasionally great. It’s a beautifully designed restaurant, and all of the hallmarks of service and the right wine list are there, poised and ready. But the payoff never fully arrives.

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Food Rundown

Rosie Cannonball review image

photo credit: Mikah Danae

Bean Salad

Crispy, acidic, spicy, smoky, charred, and vegetal. This little salad has all the flavors and textures you could want in a restaurant’s opening salvo.

Rosie Cannonball review image

photo credit: Mikah Danae

Focaccia

This is a thinner and crispier version of the fluffy, dense focaccia many of us attempted to perfect mid-pandemic. Unfortunately, it suffers under the weight of its own delicious fillings— mortadella and robiola cheese—and comes out soaked in a little too much oil. But it tastes great.

Rosie Cannonball review image

photo credit: Mikah Danae

Cacio E Pepe Pizza

Until this, we’d never had a cacio e pepe pizza, which is a shame. The play between the nutty parmesan, cream sauce, and crispy crust was impressive. It’s something we would order again and again.

Rosie Cannonball review image

photo credit: Mikah Danae

Penne Alla Vodka

Despite the showy tableside flambe preparation, after the flames dissipate, it’s mostly just a tasty cheesy pasta with tomato sauce. It didn’t need to be on fire to get our attention.

Rosie Cannonball review image

photo credit: Mikah Danae

Pork Chop

Neither the au poivre or lambrusco vinaigrette could save the overcooked grilled pork chop, which was declared dead the moment it arrived at the table.

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