A Taste of Italian
The Short Course
Kid-Friendly: Maybe… depending on the time you visit and your kids!
To Avoid a Wait: Make reservations, visit during an off-peak time, or order takeout.
Noise Level: Loud.
Bathroom Amenities: Clean.
High Chairs: Yes.
Kids Menu: No.
Anything Healthy for Kids: Absolutely!
Food Allergy Concerns: Speak with your server about specific allergy concerns.
With summer winding down and school supplies piled up around the house, our calendar began filling up with back-to-school events, this mama was done as CEO (chief entertainment officer) for three kids. So one Friday night, my parents graciously took our darling offspring for the evening while Jeremy and I took a much needed breather to Rossilli’s — a downtown staple.
Growing up in Findlay, I knew Rossilli’s when it was the Greentree Tavern. Since moving back to Findlay, however, we had only visited Rossilli’s a handful of times. This evening we relished a chance to slow down and soak in the atmosphere of a restaurant that doesn’t offer crayons and coloring pages.
We arrived at Rossilli’s around 6pm on a Friday evening. Flowers spilled from the outdoor window boxes, offering a pop of color against the black façade. The antique wooden door created a timeworn and trusted appearance. The welcoming look continues inside with brick walls dotted with black and white photographs and a large, vintage wooden bar. A stamped copper ceiling gleamed, hovering over shelves of liquors and cocktail mixings. Like most establishments along Main Street, Rossilli’s resides in a deep, narrow building. The main dining area lies in the back of the building a few steps up from the entry and the bar. Dark walls create an intimate feel while mirrors keep the space from feeling cramped. White table clothes, wood chairs and hardwood floors add to the classic feel. Blue pendant light shades add a touch of color to the space.
We settled into the table and looked over the menu. Most of dishes are traditional Italian, but there also are a number of dishes that were distinctively not Italian. Thai spicy garlic peanut wings, Asian plum glazed salmon, pretzel crusted chicken and meatloaf are appealing options. By adding these dishes to the menu, Rossilli’s offers variety to suit any age, diet and palate. One look around the restaurant supported that fact. We saw young couples, two ladies toasting a girls’ night out and a multi-generational birthday dinner (including kids!), filling the tables. All in an atmosphere that is relaxed, but jubilant.
Rediscovering Italian food
Eventually, we settled on the calamari to start (though the stuffed mushrooms and crab cakes were mighty tempting!). When the appetizer arrived, we delighted in the crisp, lightly fried texture and flavor without being chewy or tough, while the accompanying tomato-based dipping sauce added a touch of tang. My white wine paired perfectly with the dish with a bright, clean taste. Meanwhile, we continued to contemplate the entree
Living with an Italian husband has provided a never-ending education in the delights of garlic, pasta, tomatoes and cheese. In fact, I’ve often remarked that going out for Italian food seems silly since Jeremy is such a good cook. But we eyed the menu, recognizing our personal culinary preparatory limitations, aiming to stretch our taste buds with unfamiliar pasta dishes. I opted for the Rigatoni Bolognese while Jeremy, after consulting with the server, chose the Three Cheese Tortelloni. The entrees arrived, attractively plated and smelling wonderful. Jeremy’s dish featured plump tortelloni accompanied by a thick sauce, topped with meatballs and cheese. My dish boasted classic, tube-shaped rigatoni pasta tossed in a meaty sauce.
In the dim lighting, the sauces looked identical and the menu describes both as Bolognese. When we compared them, however, the sauce with Jeremy’s dish had a sweet red pepper flavor that complemented the cheesy tortelloni. Both sauces had a healthy kick of spice, but the smooth sweetness of Jeremy’s contrasted significantly with the robust flavor of my Bolognese. Each of these sauces had been carefully created, simmered for hours with a careful attention to spices and flavors. The generous portions of pasta miraculously disappeared and we mopped up the sauce with garlic knots (Rossilli’s alternative to breadsticks).
Sweet ending to a sweet evening
As our server whisked away the empty dishes, Jeremy and I sat back from the table, fully satisfied. However, while listening to the list of dessert options, we couldn’t resist ordering crème brulee. Jeremy has a special weakness for crème brulee and it seemed only appropriate to test all aspects of the Rossilli’s menu.
And so, with great delight, Jeremy cracked the crisp sugary top and scooped a spoonful. A smile spread across his lips as he scooped a second bite. I nearly had to wrestle the spoon from his fingers to get a taste. And indeed, the smooth, creamy dessert featured a light sweetness that provided the perfect end to our meal. No heavy, overly sweet custard here, just the delicate balance of sugar and cream. Perfection.
We relished the lingering delight of a delicious meal, time together, and the slow pace of an evening out. As all parents know, the breakneck pace of modern life makes slowing down difficult. But throughout the evening, I relaxed with the unhurried pace of our meal – even though it felt unnatural at first! And as we left the restaurant, I was reminded of how pleasant meals could be when I wasn’t negotiating food preferences, mediating between bickering siblings, or extolling the virtues of not using clothing as a napkin. Rossilli’s is a great place to enjoy a meal.
217 South Main St., Findlay | 419-423-5050
Rossilli’s Restaurant” on Facebook
Friday: 11am-2pm, 5pm-10pm