Memorable | One of the Best
Rossi’s Bar & Grill
Review by: Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
Rossi’s serves the best burger in Trenton. Until a couple of years ago, it was also known as the second largest Trenton burger. That was until Cesare’s closed, which left Rossi’s with both crowns: best AND biggest. What makes the burger so good? Many years ago there was a wink-wink kind of rumor among the Rossi’s cognoscenti that they mixed in ground venison from their “personal stash.” The owners always categorically denied that, noting that to do so would be illegal.
We think the key to a Rossi’s burger is that they do so little to it other than apply heat. There’s no seasonings or fillers or extenders, inside or out. It’s just grilled beef, cooked the way you like it. Be sure to ask for an order of the superb house-made potato chips, too.
The rest of the menu consists of steaks and chops and fish, and these are all very popular too, but there’s also a distinct Italian accent here. In particular, we highly recommend starting with a mound (big enough to share) of fragrant, garlicky broccoli rabe (you’ll want to soak up all the juices with some bread), and maybe a plate of salami and provolone. If we have one quibble with Rossi’s, it’s their too-light hand with the seasonings. We rarely touch the salt shaker in other restaurants but we find it’s necessary to fully enjoy the food here, and that includes the excellent burger.
Rossi’s is one of the few survivors of the old Italian section of Trenton known as The Burg (short for Chambersurg). There were once dozens of restaurants, almost all Italian, within these few blocks. They’ve been rapidly disappearing over the last 10-15 years, some moving to the suburbs, others just closing up for good. Besides Rossi’s and De Lorenzo we can think of only one or two others still open for business.
Rossi’s isn’t really an Italian restaurant. It’s a bar with a dining room off to the right, and when you enter the establishment you’ll want to leave your name with the bartender if there’s a wait for a table. He’ll let you know when one opens up for you. Decor consists primarily of photos and plaques and such related to the Yankees. Most of the clientele appears not to be of the current neighborhood, but the grown children of the old Burg, now venturing back from the burbs for a taste of the old neighborhood.
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