Talk about being a trend-setter. The original owner of RoSal's, Salvatore, put the kibosh on smoking before it was mandated to do so, back when he opened for business in the mid-1990s.
Smart move. Decorations are adorable and best appreciated when not obscured by a cloud of tobacco smoke. RoSal's is adorned with white Christmas lights year-round. Strainers, spoons and spatulas hang on the walls, mixed with photographs of first communions, babies, the old country and classic Taylor Street images, like a picture of Oscar Mayer with the owner.
But it's the pasta that keeps diners waiting hours for a table or clamoring for Valentine's Day reservations. For starters, the fried ravioli appetizer is renowned. Don't even try to find out the ingredients, your waitress will only confirm the white wine and butter sauce. Eggplant parmigiana is fried and then baked, a loving touch. Chicken scaloppini can feed a family of four and consists of breasts topped with proscuitto, melted provolone and a melted cheese sauce. Don't feel confined to the menu selections. Most patrons use it as a template and then ask for customized variations for their meal. The kitchen staff is not only used to it: They expect it.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Robin Wright