New Yorkers love Rosa Mexicano with a fidelity few restaurants ever achieve.
Since it first opened its doors nearly twenty-five years ago, it's been the
place to meet up with friends, to talk, to drink, to eat. All day long people drop by for a quesadilla or torta
or for the famed guacamole dubbed by one food critic "green ecstasy in a bowl." Come evening, the bar hums and crowds arrive for Rosa's homey entrees: short ribs served off the bone with a sauce of roasted tomatillo and chipotle chiles, or its red snapper Veracruz, or one of the many vegetarian meals, such as the roasted poblanos stuffed with spinach and goast cheese. Each is the epitome of contentment, and each is in this book.
Mexican food is downright delicious, and Chef Roberto Santibañez's food is triumphant because it succeeds in being true to its antecedents yet open to the tastes of the cities this growing family of restaurants now calls home. Rosa's New Mexican Table
is entirely about the food we want to eat today, and it's simple enough so that we can enjoy it on any given work night. Every page is the product of Santibañez's determination to simplify the complexities of his native cuisine and to share his fascination with its multicultural currents with you.
His twists and innovative takes bring magic to cooked and uncooked sauces, such as his delicious mahogany-hued pecan-prune mole. There are fork-tender meats redolent of classic Mexican pit roasts (barbacoas
), as well as great moist adobos—made from chiles, garlic, and spices and used as rubs—which make fowl and grilled meats sparkle.
Expect surprises: spectacular haricots verts baked with tomatoes, orange juice, achiote paste, and oregano in a slow oven for two hours; a ceviche green with basil; salmon served with a sauce that's both sweet and hot; and a stunning orange-gold-colored roasted yellow tomato salsa, uncommon in Mexico, and uncommonly good. Each dish is a study in intriguing contrasts: spicy and sweet (chile with pineapple); or rich and lean (a chorizo and turkey enchilada). Even desserts excite: the individual baked chocolate cakes called bocas negras
offer a mix of chocolate, smoke, heat, and sweet that's heavenly.
Roberto Santibañez makes all these good flavors accessible with virtually no last-minute work. Dishes can be made ahead and most improve with time. Step-by-step plans for festive dinners—a traditional taco party, a cocktail party, a dinner for vegetarians, a barbecue—make for lively get-togethers that provide happy times for all.
This is the perfect book for those new to the joys of cooking Mexican food at home as well as anyone in search of delicious, low-stress recipes with a modern approach.
Roberto Santibañez, the culinary director of Rosa Mexicano, has been featured in Martha Stewart Living
, Bon Appétit
, and The Washington Post
; this is his first book. Rosa Mexicano opened its doors in 1984; more than two decades later, there are three outposts in New York City, one apiece in Washington and Atlanta, one in Palm Beach, and two new ones opening in Miami and Hackensack, New Jersey.
Christopher Styler has enormous culinary range. He is a chef, cookbook writer, editor, restaurant consultant, and culinary producer of some of PBS-TV’s most successful cooking series. He lives in New Jersey.