In the Pink at Rosicler

Times Staff Writer

Rosicler is as pink as the first two syllables of its name. Bright pink tablecloths, curtains and strings of beads in the windows promote the rosy glow. There are real roses, too, but not in such obvious form as a bouquet. Instead, pink rose petals are placed under inverted water glasses as part of the table setting.

Such effects, reinforced with careful service and good food, make this small restaurant in Pasadena a charmer. Its narrow quarters possess the added charm of age. Hard to spot from the street, Rosicler is located in the Edwin Ward Building, which was built in 1887.

If one subscribes to the theory that the condition of a restaurant's restrooms bespeak its quality, Rosicler wins on that count, too. The restroom area, which has its own anteroom, is as prettily decorated as the restaurant.

Once open only for dinner, Rosicler now serves lunch and has added an early bird dinner that, at $9.95, is a lovely bargain.

Most diners would be comfortable with the menu, an assortment of steak, lamb, chicken, veal and seafood. There are no innovative challenges. Instead, one receives well-produced food--fish that is delicate and moist, cream soups with the right amount of thickening, tasteful sauces, lightly cooked fresh vegetables.

It has been almost impossible to review the regular menu because the nightly specials are so alluring. One evening recently there were orange roughy fillets stuffed with shrimp and salmon mousse, one fillet topped with green peppercorn sauce, the other with saffron sauce.

No Problem

Another time, the green peppercorn sauce covered salmon and halibut fillets stuffed with seafood mousse. Such fussy-sounding dishes can be dangerous to order. Often they don't come off well, the desire to impress exceeding the expertise of the kitchen. But at Rosicler, there is no problem. Fish, sauce and stuffing come together beautifully.

Veal with Champagne sauce was another successful special, the veal tender, the sauce rich and creamy. Veal with lemon-caper sauce from the regular menu was equally good, if one preferred sharper flavors.

First courses include an excellent chicken liver pate--the word excellent is meaningful because it was a liver hater's response to the dish. Other choices are hearts of palm vinaigrette, snails served on mushroom caps in a garlic-flavored, parsley-flecked sauce and Caesar salad. The salad is a plateful of greens without too much dressing, a distant relative of the original.

Rosicler can rise to unexpected demands. When a dieting customer insisted on something without salt or fat, the kitchen produced an attractive plate of green beans, carrots and potato slices surrounding scallops poached in unsalted water.

There are desserts, if one insists, but they are not made at the restaurant. A peanut mousse concoction sounded good but suffered from soggy peanuts on top and did not inspire further exploration of the pastries.

Prices for main dishes range from $10 up. The lunch menu includes salads, sandwiches, an omelet and soup that change from day to day and a few dishes from the dinner menu. The curried chicken and pasta salad contained a lot of pasta and little chicken, but was nicely presented with julienned carrot, radish slices, shredded red cabbage, olives and brightly colored peppers arranged around it. The pasta was mixed with celery for lightness and set on a bed of lettuce--a large plate of food for $4.25.

Rosicler's small wine list shows that its clients prefer white wines, which are plentiful, while the choice of reds is limited. The house wines, available by the glass, are a red and white Bordeaux. Although the restaurant is small, space has been allotted to a piano, and there is music Friday and Saturday nights.

Rosicler, 24 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (818) 792-9700. Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Monday. Accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express. Reservations advised.

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