Monday, October 2, 2023

Rollati Ristorante - Downtown San Jose's newest flagship restaurant

I had the chance to try out Rollati across from San Jose City Hall on opening weekend and am happy to say it lived up to the hype. This restaurant is brought to you by the same group responsible for Left Bank, LB Steak, and Meso Mediterranean at Santana Row. I like all of those places, but Rollati is my new favorite.

Quick disclosure that this was not a sponsored meal. I paid for everything and my wife and I crushed seven courses and four cocktails, so we got a pretty good feel for the place. We also dined at 5pm since we have a baby at home. I'm bummed we had to leave before we could see Sonic Runway light up in front of City Hall through the massive floor to ceiling windows, but we'll leave that for another trip.

First off, it's gorgeous. Right when you walk in there is modern yet homely feel. The bar looks awesome and was completely packed by the time we left. You can see through to the kitchen and brick pizza oven and there is small shop by the host desk for take-home items and Italian condiments. Eventually they will also set up outdoor seating with fire pits and planters for privacy.

We started with the namesake dish, the Eggplant Rollatini with roasted garlic ricotta, spinach, and marinara. This alone was worth the trip. One of the best Italian dishes I have ever had, full stop.

We washed the Rollatini down with a Limoncello Spritz using housemade Limoncello, Elderflower, and Proseco and one of the most unique cocktail's I've even had... an Heirloom Martini with olive oil washed vodka, heirloom tomatoes, basil, and white balsamic. Yup, balsamic. It was like a taste of Italy in a Martini. I wouldn't order it on its own, but surprisingly it paired perfectly with the food. 

Next up were the Gnocchetti Alla Bava with pancetta and crispy sage. This was almost as good as the Eggplant Rollatini. We also went with a Traditional Caesar which sounds a bit basic to try at a trendy new restaurant but it had crispy parmigiano crisps and a rustic crouton that made it one of my favorite Caesars of all time. They nailed the sauce with just the right amount of anchovy flavor.

For the next round of drinks we got refreshing Bufala Negra which is bourbon with basil, balsamic, and ginger ale (yup another drink with balsamic) and a Black Manhattan which uses bourbon and multiple Italian Amaros. These were definitely up to "craft cocktail" standards and honestly I would be perfectly happy coming here just for the drinks at the bar.

Finally the real show, the main courses. A Spaghetti Alla Limon with Dungeness Crab. This had a lemon cream sauce, parmigiano, and breadcrumbs. We added on the crab as an option and it was outstanding. And then just when we think we've had our favorite course...

...a "Thousand" Layer Lasagna with Beef Short Rib Ragu. This was really something else and unlike any other Lasagna I've had before. It was crispy, soft, cheesy, and meaty in all the right proportions.

We were crazy so we also ordered a Braised Rabbit with polenta, pine nuts, and currants. This was my wife's favorite. It didn't taste gamey at all and was much more flavorful than let's say a chicken dish.

We were completely stuffed at this point. There were no leftovers, we ate everything. However, when every single dish is this good, you have to assume they are going to have great desserts as well. So we squeezed in a Fig Leaf Panna Cotta and I have no regrets. It was served with a Florentine cookie and fig compote.  

Final verdict? Was it worth $250 for two (in all fairness it was probably a meal for three or four)?

Yes. 10/10. 

Rollati is the best major new restaurant in Downtown San Jose since Petiscos (which is now San Jose's first and only Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant). If you live in Miro which is directly above the restaurant, I am very jealous and you're probably going to gain some weight.

Protip: you can park for free after 6pm in the neighborhoods around the Miro Towers and all day on Sundays. They also have valet parking and there is 90min of free parking in city-owned garages throughout Downtown San Jose.

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