Reviews by: Cuisine

Roman Cucina Restaurant Review

Article Type: ItalianRestaurant Review
Submitted by: warren -- Wed, 2005-04-27 21:35
There are a surprising number of Italian restaurants in downtown Fullerton (at least five), but it just so happens that the newest and closest (being located directly across the street from my home) is also my favorite: Roman Cucina. Though the menu isn’t huge, the items within it are top-notch, and the atmosphere both classy and homey at the same time.

The menu consists (mostly) of lots of pasta dishes, and you can order things the way you like them. The pasta “items” start with you picking an entrée by sauce, such as alfredo, pesto, or (my favorite) rosa. Each entrée can be had with one of three pastas, such as fettuccine, penne, or linguine. You can also add a meat selection, such as beef milanese (which tastes like veal to me), chicken parmesan, etc., to any entrée. I didn’t do the math, but there must be at least 100 possible pasta dish combinations. Entrées come with a choice of Italian dinner salad or Italian wedding soup.

I myself normally get Rosa Penne with Beef  Milanese, which is so good I usually get goose bumps because it is so reminiscent of my Grandma’s. My wife usually gets the Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken. Both sauces are creamy and rich and full of big flavor. All the pasta forms are consistently magical: never being too firm or mushy, and tasting fresh. The wedding soup is a little heavy on the cabbage and light on the meatballs for my taste, but it is full of hearty flavor without resorting to excess salt. The menu also has a number of sandwiches, appetizers that are really mini-entrées of their own, and perhaps the best meatless lasagna west of the Mississippi river. Diners in the mood for pizza will be disappointed, however; there isn’t any. I don’t consider this a problem, but I have friends who do.

Roscoe's Famous Deli Restaurant Review

Article Type: DeliRestaurant Review
Submitted by: warren -- Sun, 2005-04-24 14:16
Roscoe's Famous Deli is brought to you by the owners of Hero's Bar and Grill, which was one of the only restaurants in Downtown Fullerton during its dark pawn-shop-days, and a favorite of mine. Roscoe's has been a long time coming, being developed for more than two years before opening just recently. Because of this, and because Jerry's Famous Deli and New York's (and Las Vegas') Stage Deli are both favorites of mine, I had very high hopes for Roscoe's. Perhaps too high.

Perhaps the the problem is that when I think "Deli," I'm thinking about what is popularly known as a "Jewish Deli." Such a Deli has a huge menu with at least 100 items, if not three times this. Of course there's cold sandwiches with freshly sliced deli meat (aka "cold cuts," where I grew up) on fresh bread, but there's also breakfast dishes, hot open-faced sandwiches, bagels with lox and cream cheese, matzah-ball soup, and so forth. There may even be full dinners with steak, fish, burgers, or even pizza.

And compared to this, Roscoe's menu comes up at little short. The menu has exactly 15 items, and all of them are (mostly cold) sandwiches. True, they are piled so high with freshly-sliced meat that you'll want to remove some in order to get your mouth around them. And true, my ham and my wife's turkey were very tasty. But what we're really talking about here is a sandwich shop, not what I would call a deli. Whenever I go to a deli for the first time, I always try a beef brisket sandwich and matzah-ball soup to get a feel for the joint, but not at Roscoe's. And not to be a cold-cut snob, but I wouldn't say that there's anything special about the meats Roscoe's uses; I can (and do) buy better cold cuts from my local Stater Brothers or Henry's Market for around $7 a pound.