Downtown Houston Hotel Restaurant With Celebrity Chef Cred Taps Into Local Talent
Rosalie Italian Soul in the C. Baldwin Hotel at 400 Dallas initially opened with celebrity chef Chris Cosentino guiding the menu. The casually elegant, 70s-themed Italian-American eatery, named for Cosentino’s grandmother, temporarily closed in 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s now finally reopening on Wednesday, September 15, but with a new executive chef who’s replacing Sasha Grumman, who left to be on the 18th season of reality competition series Top Chef. However, the new executive chef has a Houston pedigree and experience with a popular local restaurant.
Jacob Coronado, formerly chef de cuisine of Nobie’s, is stepping into the role. Coronado’s other executive chef experience includes 8UP in Louisville, Kentucky, and he was sous chef at Quince in Evanston, Illinois.
Cosentino seems to be supportive of the change, and is continuing to guide Rosalie in some capacity as its creator. In fact, Cosentino is currently in Houston to oversee the reopening. “I’m incredibly excited about reopening Rosalie Italian Soul,” said Cosentino via a press release. “The food at Rosalie represents immigrant cuisine in America, and as an Italian-American descendent of immigrants, those dishes and the stories they tell are so close to my heart. I can’t wait to work with Jacob to tell those stories again to Houston diners.”
Along with the kitchen leadership change comes a refreshed menu — but with some important quality standards still in place. Pastas and pizzas will continue to be made onsite, and inspiration continues to draw from Cosentino’s heritage and family recipes. Certain popular appetizers remain, too, including arancini, Crispy Calamari and Great Grandma’s Meatballs. On the heartier side are entrées such as a hefty 24-ounce bone-in ribeye, Snapper with wild mushrooms, capers and arugula, and hanger steak served “Pizzaiolo-style” with cherry peppers and tomatoes. Returning main dishes include Texas-meets-Italy favorites such as fresh rigatoni with Texas wild boar ragu, Blue Crab Manicotti with local blue crab and wild mushroom pizza with mozzarella and pecorino. The restaurant is also expanding its to-go and catering options.
Another recent Rosalie staff addition is new food and beverage director David Tinsley, who joined in May and brings with him seven years of experience in a similar role with Marriott. On the beverage side, some of the highlights of the cocktail menu include a Negroni on tap, and creative affairs such as Gone with the Gin with Bombay Sapphire Gin, matcha syrup, lemon and club soda, and The Dalai Mama, with Tito’s Vodka, St-Germain, lemon, butterfly pea flower and peach bitters.
In other staff changes, Annie Balest, the opening general manager who came from well-respected fine dining restaurant Tony’s by late restaurateur Tony Vallone, is no longer with Rosalie. According to a representative, there’s not currently a formal general manager position.
Starting on Wednesday, September 14, Rosalie Italian Soul is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Thanks to the valet in front of the C. Baldwin Hotel, there shouldn’t be any worries about downtown parking. Reservations are available online.
Editor’s note: we initially incorrectly identified Chris Cosentino’s title with Rosalie Italian Soul. It is, and has always been, “creator”. We regret the error.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.