Dining Review

Rocco’s Bistro Carves the Right Niche

The high-end burger-and-steak joint feels right at home in East Greenwich

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Main Street in East Greenwich is a hot spot on Saturday nights. The street, lined on both sides by restaurants, is bustling. When a new restaurant opens on Main Street in the midst of so much competition, it has to be on top of its game. Rocco’s Bistro opened last spring and has been luring hungry diners in ever since.

The restaurant was opened by Smithfield native Rocco Quattrocchi, who studied at Johnson & Wales University and spent many years working at Providence’s Atomic Grille and Restaurant Prov. Quattrocchi opened his first restaurant, the very popular Rocco’s Pub & Grub, in his hometown, then turned to East Greenwich for the higher end Rocco’s Bistro.

On a busy Saturday night, I met my brother and a friend there, and the place was abuzz. The decor is a mix of industrial elements and leather-backed chairs, and the bar seats 20 guests. Rocco’s offers a wide assortment of cocktails, from sangrias to juleps. As a nod to my grandmother, I decided on the RQ Chang’s Whiskey Sour ($12). It was a mix of Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Cointreau, fresh squeezed orange juice, honey syrup, and orange bitters. It was tasty. We also ordered a Whalers Rise ($5.50) and a Two Roads Lil Heaven IPA ($6.50).

Though we enjoyed all of our food at Rocco’s Bistro, we agreed that the appetizers were in a league of their own. If you want to make a meal of appetizers, this is the place to do it. We sampled the Lobster Wontons ($14) and the Stuffed Mozzarella ($14), which was a special that night. The Lobster Wontons were deep fried to a perfect crisp and were not greasy at all. The insides were stuffed with finely chopped lobster meat and whipped mascarpone cheese. There was more lobster than cheese, which was a good thing for us, and they were served with classic duck and plum sauces. The stuffed mozzarella was also terrific. The mozzarella was made in-house, then stuffed with roasted tomatoes, prosciutto, and arugula and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. It was so good, we think it should be a regular menu item.

Hearing that Rocco’s Bistro was known for its steaks, I decided to try the Steak Alla Mama ($37). The steak itself was a well marbled, grass-fed New York Strip, drizzled with a tasty garlic and white wine sauce. It came with steamed spinach and “roasted potatoes” that seemed more like thick-cut potato chips. My friend ordered the Lobster Ravioli ($24) and was impressed by the eight large pasta pillows topped with sherry-cream sauce, cherry tomatoes, and spinach. My brother, a burger aficionado, got the Black & Blue Burger ($14) and raved about it: the patty was topped with applewood smoked bacon, Maytag blue cheese, and caramelized onions. He upgraded to the Rocco’s Fries ($2), crispy shoestrings tossed with Parmesan, garlic, and togarashi spice (a Japanese chili pepper blend) and served with homemade chipotle ketchup.

Rocco’s Bistro offers several weekday specials: Monday is Slider Night with $1.50 sliders, Tuesday is Wing Night with 45 cent wings, Wednesday is Teeny Tini Night with four-ounce martinis for $5, and Thursday is Taco Night with $2 tacos. With excellent food, attentive service, and a comfortable atmosphere, Rocco’s Bistro has earned its spot on East Greenwich’s restaurant row.

Rocco’s Bistro
219 Main Street, East Greenwich • 398-2940