Wed-Thu, 4pm-10pm; Fri-Sat, 4pm-11pm; Sun, 3pm-9pm; Mon-Tue, closed
F, G at Carroll St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Opened in 1983, Red Rose joins the last handful of old-school Italian places that's managed to survive amidst the newer generation of Smith Street restaurants. No mommies with baby backpacks that double as laptop cases hereŚrather, the archetypal cliché veers closer to tracksuits and gold chains. The room looks like it hasn't had a makeover in several decades, with a mirrored wall in the back, and the others stucco, bisected with wavy wood trim that hearkens back to a time of key parties. And upon entering, it feels like you've crashed someone's house partyŚthe dining room is louder than the bar area. The host, who's also the son of the owners, welcomes everyone warmly before boisterously singing the praises of his parent's menu, a by-the-numbers selection of Italian dishes. There are few surprises, but little touches keep the cuisine a notch above. A too-sweet bolognese sauce is rescued by amazingly fresh penne; pizza lacks the requisite spices in the sauce, but topped with family-recipe meatballs, it beats the corner slice. Finally, a heaping plate of veal saltimbocca may look watery, but the subtle, buttery flavors gradually emerge. Of course, everything's made rosier by the wickedly cheap wine list, with the bulk of the selections clocking in under twenty bucks.Recommended Dishes
Penne bolognese, $14; veal saltimbocca, $16