Rice Balls ($9)
We weren't crazy about these arancini. They were hot and crisp enough with a creamy center, but they lacked flavor, making us wonder why we'd just paid $9 for some pretty plain rice.
Meatball and Caramelized Onion Bruschetta ($2.50 each)
The meatball, with plenty of sharp Parmigiano, was excellent: like a perfect two-bite meatball sub. The caramelized onion version was flavorful, but the pieces of braised duck meat seemed almost out of place—aren't we dining at a red sauce joint here?
Rubirosa Salad ($10)
We enjoyed the Rubirosa salad, even if we were thrown by its description of "country bread, tomato, basil, mozzarella," expecting something more like a panzanella. Instead, we got mixed greens with celery, cucumber, tomatoes, mozzarella, and croutons.
Chicken Parmigiano ($18)
A hubcap-sized plate of pounded fried chicken covered in sauce and melted mozzarella cheese is a pretty awe-inspiring sight. The chicken was moist, and the sauce was good, but we found that the gigantic cheese blanket ended up weighing down the dish too much. Perhaps a higher proportion of Parmigiano to mozzarella would have worked better. The best part of the meal: the side of Spaghetti alla Chitarra that comes with it.
Gnocchi ($17 or $26)
Like the duck bruschetta, we found the braised boar meat to be a little out of place next to a gigantic Chicken Parmigiana, but the gnocchi were properly light and fluffy.
Lasagna Napoletana For Two ($23)
They take 15 minutes to bake to order, but the wait is worth it. Thousands of layers of hot, crisp, flaky pastry form the crust. At Rubirosa they forgo the traditional Italian ricotta-based filling, instead using a pastry cream; it's an homage to the Italian-American bakery tradition.