photo credit: Kate Previte

a spread of dishes at Rolo's. Clockwise from top: Crispy potatoes war style, two sheet lasagna verde, pork t bone, grilled head on shrimp, sesame and wild oregano polenta bread




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The lasagna at Rolo’s has béchamel and a deep bolognese made from ground beef that's butchered in-house, then sandwiched between crumpled pieces of green pasta—the top of which get charred to a hard crunch in a wood oven. It's a brilliant twist on a classic dish, and it does more with two sheets of pasta than some restaurants do with 20.

Like all the cooking at Rolo's, the lasagna is subtly inventive, with quality ingredients and fine-tuned techniques, presented simply. This Ridgewood spot, which was founded by Gramercy Tavern alums during the pandemic, makes it all look appealingly effortless. They've since opened one of our favorite bakeries, and a late-night bar around the corner—both as creative, detail-oriented, and popular as Rolo's.

the exterior at Rolo's in Ridgewood

photo credit: Kate Previte

the bar at Rolo's

photo credit: Kate Previte

a wood grill and oven, each with a fire burning inside

photo credit: Kate Previte

the interior at Rolo's

photo credit: Kate Previte

the exterior at Rolo's in Ridgewood
the bar at Rolo's
a wood grill and oven, each with a fire burning inside
the interior at Rolo's

The restaurant is consistently booked out. In the large main dining area, you'll see neighborhood regulars, in for an easy weeknight dinner. (Others continue to avoid it, citing Rolo's ties to a real-estate developer.) You’ll also see NYC bucket-listers who booked a reservation weeks ago, and are likely taking a cab back to Tribeca. People eat softly-lit plates of juicy grilled shrimp, seasonal vegetables, or mortadella, and house-aged steaks. There’s a good view of the wood grill and oven, and the music might be 90% Khruangbin, but you can’t be sure, because it’s playing at just the right level.

And then there’s the bar, which takes walk-ins and is one of the more sceney places east of the East River. If you’re planning a night of dancing in Ridgewood or Bushwick, there’s a good chance it’s starting at the Rolo’s bar. Out here, beanies are the resiliency inspiration you need, clinging on to patrons’ heads for dear life, while leaving their ears as cold as the cocktails they’re drinking.

a spread of dishes from Rolo's (clockwise from top): sesame and oregano polenta bread, two sheet lasagna verde, pork t-bone, head on shrimp, crispy potatoes "war-style"

photo credit: Kate Previte

People with Gallagher brother haircuts split creamy, crusty polenta bread, and eat one of the city’s best smashburgers while hyping themselves up for the newest underground DJ at Nowadays. The bar lighting is dimmer, the conversation is spirited, and the outfits provide enough fodder to keep you off Pinterest for a few weeks.

It might seem like this whole place just rolled out of bed and threw on a vintage tee, but that would be missing the real picture. Whether you’re at Rolo’s just to pregame, or have been planning a special occasion meal here for weeks, you’ll find unpretentious, incredibly satisfying food, held up by a sturdy backbone of technique and care.

Food Rundown

the sesame and wild oregano polenta bread at rolo's

photo credit: Kate Previte

Wood-Fired Polenta Bread

The anchor of any meal at Rolo’s, these breads are creamy like polenta, charred like pizza, and laden with flavorful toppings. Mixing and matching which bread topping you get with the small plates you choose is like Rolo’s Legos. We like the sesame and wild oregano version (pictured).
the charred two sheet lasagna verde at rolo's

photo credit: Kate Previte

Two Sheet Lasagna Verde

Our favorite thing on the menu at Rolo’s. The top sheet of spinach pasta rumpled like a topographic map of the Ozarks, with jagged ridges and low valleys. The béchamel is creamy, the bolognese is rich, and the deep charred notes of the pasta make this a must-order.
the double cheeseburger at Rolo's, with grilled onions and a grilled pepper

photo credit: Rolo's

Double Cheeseburger

This beautiful double cheeseburger is the pinnacle of Rolo’s whole-animal butchery program, and it’s fantastic. Juicy, fatty, crispy, and served with a well-grilled pepper.
a plate of pickled carrots

photo credit: Will Hartman

Pickled Carrots

A nice little snack to have on the table. Order them, and save them to eat with your main course. They’re crunchy and acidic.
grilled head on shrimp and a lemon wedge

photo credit: Kate Previte

Grilled Salt & Pepper Head-On Shrimp

Dishes like these make us feel silly for having a white linen napkin. The shrimp are sweet, plump, nicely charred, and an unbelievable mess to eat. If this sounds interesting to you, consider packing wet wipes.
a grilled pork t bone with salsa verde and a celeriac puree

photo credit: Kate Previte

Pork T-bone

We wish more restaurants would serve this cut of pork. It’s essentially a porterhouse, so you get nice bites of rich strip, with a few tender morsels of filet.
potato wedges with mayo and spicy peanut sauce

photo credit: Kate Previte

Crispy Potatoes "War Style"

Some of the most interesting spuds in New York, these big wedges are served with a dollop of mayo, and a spicy peanut sauce that doesn’t shy away from the heat.

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Suggested Reading

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Gramercy Tavern

Don't take this fine dining restaurant by Union Square as seriously as it takes itself. Instead, treat Gramercy Tavern as a fun neighborhood spot where you can eat a fantastic burger at the bar.

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It’s worth standing in line at Radio Bakery in Greenpoint for their delicious twists on classic pastries.

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Home of the cartoonishly large fried chicken sandwich, Ridgewood’s Mama Yoshi Mini Mart is a wonderful spot for a quick takeout meal.

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