LA Weekly critic Besha Rodell puts Ricardo Zarate’s comeback into perspective in the first half of her review for Rosaliné. The bright, airy West Hollywood restaurant is a return to form for the Peruvian chef who started with a humble stall at Mercado La Paloma in the late aughts before going on to earn national acclaim for restaurants like Picca. Zarate left the group he founded and went on hiatus before returning with the fast-casual Mamacita and now this full project in WeHo that opened in mid-June.
The critic jumps right into what makes Zarate’s cooking so good:
Here are the bracing ceviches, zapped with acid and tempered with creaminess, or sweetness, or a shot of umami, or all three of those things. Maybe it's sliced scallop daubed with uni, floating in leche de tigre, accompanied by a tiny pile of slivered garlic cooked to a jerky chew, or four lovely curls of sea bass from Ensenada bathed in a tamari-yuzu-walnut dressing, prickled with Amazonian charapita
Rodell thinks the flavors are on maximum volume:
Padron peppers get hit with miso and also a pile of shimmering, quivering bonito, and somehow the three aggressive flavors work in electrifying harmony. This is not food you can eat casually, without much thought; it demands your attention.
Not all is perfect with Zarate’s new dishes, as there are sometimes too many elements on plates:
The pancetta and sausage and fermented fish condiment bagoong that flavor the Peruvian paella border on salty, meaty overkill, even with fat prawns dotting the rice as well. The dish is decent, but it lacks the dynamic thrill of Zarate's other efforts.
Toward the end, B-Rod exhorts Zarate to stay focused and not over expand, writing, “Don't push too hard. One restaurant as good as Rosaliné is far better than five you can't handle.” The restaurant scores three stars out of five.