Rosti Tuscan Kitchen, is, as one might expect, a charming familial restaurant, located on the 900 block of Montana Avenue. So why, you may ask, is this story subtitled “A Herb Garden?” Well, this eatery boasts an alluring, and fragrant herb garden that runs adjacent to the sidewalk on 10th Street right outside the restaurant.
This garden is picture-postcard viewable, is alive with a veritable swathe of lively efflorescent shrubbery made up of plants that are drought tolerant, and native to the sunny southern California climes. There is lavender, mixed fragrant herbs including, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, sage (they actually use some of these in the restaurant!) flowing plants, olive trees, cypress trees, and a bench for people to sit and admire the scenery as well as the scents. This natural artwork pleasantly disturbs the uniformity of what can often be the all too often repetition of a modern city’s appearance.
But, enough of the exterior, what about the restaurant itself, and what of the food I sense you may be wondering, well this past weekend I joined the “Rosti family” for a lunch tasting, some nourishing conversation, and an agreeably languid experience.
The recently adjusted interior is Italian tinged Southern Californian, with a ceiling that is high enough to accommodate the tallest of papal mitres, minimalist artwork, sturdy and functional tables, and some splendidly red wooden chairs. All in all, it is disarming and homely, warm and welcoming, and the perfect canvas upon which to paint a soothing lunch, a family dinner, or an evening liaison with a significant other.
The menu, designed by owner Kevin Goldfein (with the skillful assistance of Food & Wine Magazine’s Melissa Rubel) is colorful and complete, with something for everyone, including 14 thin crust Toscano style pizzas, as well a build your own option.
So, what did I eat on my visit? To start I had the fire roasted artichoke (served with grilled lemon & basil- tarragon dipping sauce, $6.99). The two artichokes were fresh and tender, and the dipping sauce was just what the flavor doctor ordered, the perfect compliment. I paired this dish with an arugula & fig salad (arugula & endive lettuces, dried figs, toasted hazelnuts, caramelized onions & goat cheese, tossed in a honey balsamic dressing, $13.50). It certainly was a good idea indeed.
My main course was their signature Pollo Al Mattone.
Rosti’s brick pressed chicken, marinated in garlic, rosemary & sage. Served with oven roasted rosemary potatoes and sautéed spinach with garlic, quarter chicken, $10.50). This was superb! Tender and tasty chicken with a subtle shake of seasoning, and some of the most scintillating roasted potatoes ever. My taste buds had been in training for this dish for quite some time, I must say.
I also tasted their roasted chicken ragu (with bowtie pasta, $11.99). This was what Italian home cooking is supposed to be, fresh ingredients, and simple, well-balanced flavors. I recommend this one for sure.
The lunch was rounded off with homemade tiramisu, a home baked chocolate chip cookie, and a fresh cup of coffee. Let’s just say that I was humming that famous Rolling Stones hit, but with slightly modified lyrics, I can get some satisfaction. So can you, should you choose to visit with the Rosti family on Montana!
931 Montana Avenue., 310.393.3236
Mirror Contributing Writertim@smmirror.com