Ronette's Psychedelic Sock Hop
Ronette’s Psychedelic Sock Hop is not a space-galaxy movie musical set in the '50s. It is, however, a colorful, dog-friendly dive bar on Leary Way complete with neon lights, checkerboard tile, occasional live music, and watermelon slushies spiked with Midori. You might expect a place like this to serve things like battered cheese curds and mushroom swiss burgers, but instead, you can order bowls of fresh pasta and miso sesame caesar salads via counter service.
Even though the pasta is pretty tasty for the most part, we like Ronette's best as somewhere for groups of friends to walk in and grab a round of drinks without a wait.
The kitchen is helmed by former Italian pop-up Mixtape Pasta, and when they're on top of their game, the food is exactly what we want with a negroni or pint glass of kolsch. We like the creste di gallo tossed in peppery arugula pesto and calabrian chile breadcrumbs, rigatoni bolognese accented with fennel seed and sauteed carrot, and their seven-layer lasagne with bubbling fontina and toasted edges. To end things, the citrus tiramisu is a clear standout—it tastes like someone is launching lemons at you with a softball pitching machine, but the creamy mascarpone, splashes of olive oil, and occasional crunch of salt flakes temper all of that acid.
However, the food at Ronette's tends to be inconsistent, as we've encountered bland sauces, dry meatballs, and gummy pasta—which is a bummer because this menu is such a refreshing change from most casual bars. We'd rather just head to our favorite dive with a reliably solid burger than get stuck with something overcooked and undersauced.
Even when the kitchen is having an off night, though, Ronette's is still an undeniably fun place. Swing by for a frozen cocktail and several orders of garlic bread on their patio lined with pink astroturf and tables covered in glitter.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.
Stunning. It seems priced incorrectly at $6 for two small pieces, but it’s worth it for these garlicky butter-slathered hunks of baguette.
If you can get past the occasional wilted piece of lettuce, this is a fine caesar involving some tasty things like miso, black sesame seeds, and nutty pecorino shavings. Good if you require some leaves.
Seven Layer Lasagne
The pasta sheets are always a little mushy, but depending on how much you just want gooey baked noodles, it’s possible to overlook that thanks to bruleed fontina, crumbles of meaty bolognese, and dough edges that crunch like crackers. Don't order this if you're looking for al dente pasta though.
Rigatoni Bolognese (Meat)
When there’s enough bolognese to moisten up the pasta, this plate of rigatoni is really good, especially when showered with grated cheese. The sauce also has a nice warmth from the fennel seed and sauteed mirepoix.
Rigatoni Bolognese (Vegetarian)
This vegetarian sauce is unfortunately a real miss, due to a lack of detectable flavors or textures aside from gloopy tomato paste and unseasoned lentils. If you don’t eat meat, stick with the pesto.
Creste Di Gallo
This is our favorite pasta here, complete with herbaceous arugula pesto that gets some much-needed heat and salt from sourdough breadcrumbs, calabrian chile, and shredded parmeggiano reggiano. On a bad day, though, it can be bland, severely overcooked, and served with hardly enough sauce to coat.
Do you like lemons? Good, because this citrus-soaked riff on tiramisu tastes like what would happen if that Flashdance scene used limoncello instead of water. Luckily, there's plenty of mascarpone tang, grassy olive oil, and salt flakes to mellow it out, plus spongy lady fingers. This is the best dish here.