Anchoring both the burgeoning Short Street dining district and North Limestone corridor, Rosetta Dining has embraced its prime location with an attractive and inviting storefront, making the most of their limited sidewalk patio space with deep, black upholstered benches fraught with colorful, oversized pillows and elegant white tablecloths. The interior of the space, which was home to bygone mainstays Mia’s and Annabelle’s in recent years, has been treated with a fresh coat of white (walls, chairs, tablecloths); modern and minimal furnishings give the space an air of upscale sophistication while remaining comfortable at the same time.
While the menu, which centers on salads, a limited number of specialty entrees and “short plates” (i.e., small plates), doesn’t contribute any particularly new or noteworthy elements to the repertoire of downtown fine dining, on my recent visit, Rosetta executed all of the relevant dining points (taste, presentation, service, cocktails) so flawlessly that the experience hardly left me wanting more.
Our server greeted my guest and I with a plate of bite sized rolls right away – always a welcome greeting, in my book. We each decided to try a different cocktail from the specialty list – I went with the “Cucu-tini,” a refreshing blend of gin and cucumber, while my guest went with the “Watermelon Cooler,” which was not nearly as sweet as you might fear with such a drink.
Central to the dining menu, the “short plates” are presented alongside the following explanation on the menu: “In Greece they have Mezze, Spain – Tapas, China – Dim Sum, Italy – Antipasti, in America we have Small Plates and in Lexington on Short Street we have ‘Short Plates.’” Options include Duck Fat Frites (French fries fried in duck fat with a smoked tomato ketchup, $6), a “chef’s choice” cheese course ($15), beef bourguignon ($12) and a bevy of seafood options, from oysters to calamari to tuna carpaccio ($11 – 13). We opted to try the mussels (a standby favorite of ours, $11) and the Pike Valley Chicken Wing Trio ($12) from the short plate menu, and the pan-seared sea scallop entree ($28).