PaperCity Magazine

December 2019- Houston

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Page 125 of 147

116 BY LAURANN CLARIDGE. PHOTOGRAPHY JENN DUNCAN, JULIE SOEFER, NURAY TAYLOR. N ot everyone is fortunate enough to grow up with t h e i r g r e a t - g r a n d m o t h e r . But chef Chris Cosentino was, and his Italian great-grandmama Rosalie's impact on his life and career is quite evident in Rosalie Italian Soul, the intimate restaurant named for her in the new C. Baldwin hotel downtown. A fi rst-generation Italian immigrant who settled in Rhode Island, Rosalie Cosentino left behind the authentic Italian ingredients of her homeland and made do with comparable foodstuff she found on opportunity, he turned to the designers at Philadelphia-based Rohe Creative to reimagine his great-grandmother's house with retro television consoles, vintage Joy of Cooking cookbooks, fern-and-rose-patterned curtains, and houseplants galore, from philo dendra and English ivy to ferns and birds of paradise tucked in corners and trailing from macramé holders. Take a seat in one of the elevated leather Hollywood booths, and let Cosentino and talented executive chef Sasha Grumman (Launderette, Austin; Cockscomb, San Francisco) take you back to his childhood with Italian-American dishes made modern. The Caesar salad is a carefully constructed mound of little gem lettuce leaves coated in a dressing as close to Caesar salad creator Cardini's as you might imagine — save for the addition of fresh anchovies, which I adore — topped with coarse breadcrumbs and grated parm ($11). For appetizers, try the Sicilian-inspired tuna crudo with Red Boat (a Vietnamese fi sh sauce made from the fi rst pressing of fermented black anchovy), orange zest, capers, shaved fennel, red onion, extra- virgin olive oil, and red wine vinegar ($16), or the tomato toast, a thick slice of Italian bread soaked in milled tomato then seared and layered with The Annie Cafe & Bar Lemon pound cake American soil. The new restaurant from her great grandson, and his business partner Oliver Wharton, is an homage to the matriarch and the food of Cosentino's youth: the red-sauce circuit dishes — from eggplant parmesan to ravioli and cannoli — that have proliferated through Little Italy American communities coast to coast. Celebrity chef Cosentino (who co-owns Cockscomb in San Francisco; Jackrabbit in Portland, Oregon; and Acacia House in Napa Valley) gained fame for his cooking prowess on season four of Bravo's Top Chef Masters, which he won. Lured to Houston for this THREE GENERATIONS LATER Rosalie Italian Soul in the C. Baldwin hotel Local vegetable fritto misto Timpano

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