Nine years ago Carlos Suarez opened his bright, rustic Italian spot Rosemary's on Greenwich Avenue, and it's been popular ever since. The team then increased their West Village presence in 2018 with another winner, the pizza restaurant Roey's, located just a couple of blocks away on the corner of Perry Street. Now Suarez's latest operation, the hotly anticipated Rosemary's East, has finally opened after a full year of pandemic delays, and the locals on the border of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village couldn't be happier. On opening night last Wednesday, there was a line up First Avenue of eager eaters waiting to grab a table, and that's with plenty of seating, too, with some 270 seats both inside and out.
Rosemary's East is a kind of hybrid of Suarez's Greenwich Avenue restaurants, with a crowd-pleasing menu anchored by pizzas, pastas, and "seasonal verdure." Even though many of the offerings here will be familiar to Rosemary's regulars--the Frutti di Mare trio of Shrimp, Calamari Fritti, and Grilled Octopus dishes, for example, is identical on both sides of town--executive chef Ed Carew ensures that there are enough differences to keep things feeling fresh.
Adding pizza to the Rosemary repertoire is the biggest change, and it's a good decision: these wood-stove-burning beauties may have a sourdough-based crust like Roey's, but there's a lot more structure to them than what you'll find across town, with slices that eat like classic NYC folds. The toppings are completely different too, from the less-sweet tomato sauce and housemade mozzarella on the simple Margherita and Pepperoni to the all-new toppings combos of the Mushroom pie with lemon cream and the decadent PCV Cacio e Pepe pie.
My crew went with the Stinger, Rosemary's take on Roberta's classic Bee Sting, and it was delicious—the perfect balance of tomato, mozzarella, hot honey, chili oil, and some seriously funky soppressata. It's a generously-sized pie, too, probably twelve inches (I didn't have a ruler on me) and with enough heft to really satisfy.
For pasta, the other primary category on the Rosemary's East menu, we made quick work of fantastic plate of Orecchiette, tossed with broccoli rabe and sausage crumbles in a creamy sauce, but everything in this section sounds good, and next time I'm getting either the Tagliatelle Bolognese with brisket or the Linguine with preserved lemon and pickled chilis.
Vegetables have always played a large role at the original Rosemary's, and it's no different over here in Peter Cooper Village. The Asparagus alla Milanese, a log pile of market-fresh spears topped with parmigiano and bread crumbs, was a wonderful springtime treat, and the ample Chopped Salad 'Siciliana,' loaded with things like escarole, artichoke hearts, crisp chickpeas, olives, ricotta salata, almonds, and sun dried tomato, provided a welcome hit of crunch and acid to the table.
There's also an impressive-looking Caesar Salad, starters like Beets with bitter greens and Eggplant Caponata, platters of Formaggi or Salumi, and a few Secondi options, such as Grilled Hanger Steak, Seared Salmon, and a decent roasted Sasso Chicken with fennel salad. If you feel like some dessert, definitely get the Olive Oil Cake with its cascade of sweet blueberry compote and a hefty dollop of whipped cream. Cocktails (the Pink Negroni appeared to be quite popular), wines of many hues, and a half dozen beers on tap will satisfy your alcohol desires.
The space is lovely, with that same light-wood and wicker aesthetic that makes the original Rosemary's such a pleasant place to be. There's excellent ventilation and indoor-outdoor flow, too, thanks to the full-length windows flung open to 20th Street. And if you want to celebrate something special with a bunch of your fully vaccinated loved ones, the spacious private dining rooms seem like a solid choice.
It's all good news for Stuytown and Peter Cooper Village residents... maybe a little too good. As is appropriate for a true neighborhood restaurant, Rosemary's East doesn't take reservations for parties less than six, so despite its large number of tables both inside and out, if you show up during prime time you should probably expect to wait.
Rosemary's Easty is located at 350 First Avenue, at the corner of 20th Street, and is currently open on Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. (646-868-5335; rosemarysnyc.com)