When Rosco's opened up on Franklin Avenue last summer, there was murmured skepticism among my friends—our neighborhood was already loaded with a wide range of great pizza options (Barboncino, Pete Zaaz, Amorina, and Franny's, to name a few), so what did we need with a fairly basic slice joint? One visit answered the question: what we needed was a fairly basic slice joint. Rosco's hits the nail on the head, turning out consistently good, moderately priced, straightforward New York-style pies.
Also, to be clear—Rosco's may more or less be modeled on your standard corner slice place, but there are special touches that set it apart. Somewhat unusual toppings, like whole roasted garlic cloves, hot peppers, and crisp bacon, plus some fun and thoughtful touches in the décor, help bring things up a notch.
Last Friday afternoon, I stopped by to get a pie with a friend. In deference to his vegetarianism (even though I was kind of dying to get some spicy sopressata) we went for the #5 off the "Rosco's Recommends" list, one of their special-ish pie/topping combinations: crispy potato, caramelized onion, rosemary, provolone, and mozzarella. Noticing (how have I missed this before??) their fried garlic knots, we got an order of those too—I had just been considering making my own, but here and now my curiosity could be sated.
We sat down to wait at one of the tables near the front windows, which were thrown open wide to let in the sunny, late summer afternoon. The space was filled with a combination of unemployed/artistic/freelance 20-somethings, and a vaguely Jimi Hendrix-esque guitar wailed through the speakers. We sipped our root beers—served in refreshingly ice cold pint glasses—while we waited.
The Garlic Knots ($4, 6 to an order) arrived first, perfectly crisp on the outside and puffy and chewy on the inside. A deep golden brown, they were stickily coated in an unctuous sauce of garlic, butter, parsley and Parmesan. These were a total over-the-top delight; that is, as you devour them you're also reminding yourself not to eat them again anytime soon.
Next, the Crispy Potato Pie (16" for $20); creamy and sweet, the dominant flavor coming from the caramelized onions. Which was fine by me (caramelized anything is pretty high on the tastes-I-adore list), but I missed some of the promised rosemary. Cubes of potato were well-roasted and added a nice, earthy flavor, balancing out the richness of everything else. The layer of provolone beneath the mozzarella made for an interesting textural contrast in cheeses, and the crust was just right—thin and crisp, with a good chew.
Rosco's has served as my quick slice stop on the way to or from the train, so this was my first time ordering off of their "Recommended" menu; it certainly won't be the last. The pie was delicious (and reheated excellently at home the next day), so it's clear they know what's what. Now I just need to get back there for some of that sopressata!