Close your eyes, and think about all your friends. We’re willing to bet that at least one of them is pretty cool, but also kind of a jerk. Maybe this friend doesn’t respond to your texts and always seems to have new clothing despite the fact that they work in publishing. Or maybe he or she shows obvious potential, but has yet to do anything that would make the person at the gates of the afterlife say, “Oh wow, I’ve always wanted to meet you.” If this friend were a restaurant, it would be Old Rose.
Old Rose is in the bottom of the Jane Hotel, and it feels like a ballroom that someone converted into a cafe. The ceilings are high, there are some big windows, and the walls are covered in paintings of centaur-like creatures doing stereotypical centaur things (drinking, playing the flute, etc.). It’s spacious, there’s room for groups, and it even feels kind of special.
The menu, on the other hand, is pretty straightforward. It’s Italian, and it has a few pizzas and pastas, a kale caesar, and some smaller things like octopus. And, while that might not sound very exciting, you should know that they do these staples pretty well. The pastas are solid, the pizzas are great (especially the clam one), and their side of meatballs with stracciatella is the sort of thing you dream about after you step in a puddle then see on Facebook that your ex is getting married to a person who’s slightly more attractive than you.
Although not everything here is Italian. The pork ribs come with a sweet & sour sauce that could exist at a well-managed Panda Express, and the crispy rice salad with mint and pickled jalapeño feels something you’d get at a place like Dimes. We aren’t sure what these foods are doing on the menu, but they’re interesting, and they make us wonder what this restaurant could be if it weren’t just trying to be the millionth spot to serve cacio e pepe.
We also wonder what this place would feel like if it weren’t so casual. Here, you get your silverware out of a can on your table, and the service is about about on par with that of a diner in a world where CNN just informed everyone that a meteor is headed toward Earth. Food arrives slowly and sometimes out of order, and the bartenders are borderline mean (and not in a way that makes us like them due to daddy issues).
Still, Old Rose isn’t a bad restaurant. It’s actually pretty good - but it can be pretty frustrating, and its potential makes us a just a little bit sad. Fortunately, it’s affordable enough that you can look past certain defects and still have a good time. Come with a friend on a weeknight or stop by with a group on the weekend when a lively conversation will distract you from any lapses in service. We, personally, will be coming back - if only for the pizzas and the fact that you don’t just stop liking your friend because they’re kind of a jerk.
If you like clams and creamy sauce, you’ll want this. The crust on this thing is both crispy and chewy, and it comes topped with a chili oil that you should do your very best to acquire more of.
Vodka sauce and burrata on pizza. If that sounds like something you’ll like, that’s because it is. Share one of these with a friend.
The pastas here are overall pretty good. If you like broccoli rabe and chunks of sausage, go for the cavatelli.
All meatballs should come with a side of stracciatella, and all meatballs should be this soft. Have these on your table at some point.
We like all the herbs and crispy rice in this thing, but they tend to go a little too heavy on the dressing. And, seeing as how this thing is mostly rice, it isn’t really a salad.
These come covered in what tastes like a sweet & sour sauce that definitely isn’t Italian. We aren’t complaining. We’re just a little confused.
Shredded kale with cheese, dressing, and croutons that have apparently been fried in butter. In other words, a perfectly good salad.