July 12, 2012 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
I began this week dining with a foodie friend at Rosemary’s, the latest addition to New York City’s restaurants with rooftop gardens and farms. Though our expected 45 minute wait turned into an hour and a half, we didn’t mind as it gave us time to tour the garden and enjoy a bottle of Rosé while sampling three small appetizers at the bar.
Perched overlooking New York’s West Village, Rosemary’s rooftop garden was created by the urban farming folks from Brooklyn Grange and is tended by the restaurant’s Chef Wade. Every night the menu staple, Rosemary’s Salad, is filled with greens and herbs freshly picked right upstairs.
On the restaurant’s wine list–which they call the “40 for $40 Wine Program”–every bottle of wine is $40. Our bottle of Donndele Rosato from Puglia was cold and delicious with enough left over from the bar to bring to the table.
We ordered two of the recommended pastas, each $14. The Orecchiette and with broccoli rabe and homemade sausage was perfectly al dente and delicious, but I really loved the Cavatelli with peas, asparagus, and ricotta as the two vegetables each maintained their distinct flavor, both probably plucked from the upstairs garden. Our side of roasted brussels sprouts had just enough garlic but for me was a tad overcooked.
Dessert offerings didn’t thrill us, so we walked one block to another one of my favorite restaurants, Bell, Book, and Candle, on whose rooftop farm sits 60 vertical hydroponic tower systems. After catching up with owner-chef Chef John Mooney, he escorted us to the bar to await his surprise desserts.
Out came two small “amuse-bouche” taste explosions of panna cotta topped with a dash of vanilla and drop of balsamic vinegar over a thin oat wafer. Although small, this alone might have sated my sweet tooth, had he not delivered a huge strawberry shortcake loaded with berries from the roof farm and his famous peach cobbler. I was up most of the night thinking about it as…I forgot to specify decaf espresso.