It is around noon on Sunday last week, and the crowds don’t stop maneuvering their way into Barosa in Rego Park. Everyone from young couples on dates to large boisterous families are coming to feast on brioche french toast with fresh raspberries, blueberries and cream or the Norwegian eggs benedict on a toasted English muffin with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce, and exclamations about “definitely coming back,” seem to echo throughout the restaurant at 62-29 Woodhaven Blvd.
Barosa launched its brunch menu at the end of February and the response from the community has been overwhelming, said owner Joe LaRosa, who grew up in Middle Village.
“Everyone has been so positive,” LaRosa said of customers’ reaction to the extensive menu that includes eggs florentine on a toasted English muffin with prosciutto cotto, spinach and hollandaise sauce; grilled asparagus with poached eggs, parmigiano and lemon zest, a salmon platter with cream cheese, red onion, tomato, capers and a bagel, among many other options.
“We wanted to offer brunch because it was something missing in the neighborhood,” said manager Nick Repcaru. “It’s something new for all of us.”
The main dishes range in price from $11 for a Barosa panini with grilled chicken, cherry peppers, broccoli rabe and mozzarella on an Italian flatbread to $18 for steak and eggs. Sides of home fries or bacon are available for $3, and a complimentary mimosa or bloody mary accompanies each meal.
Both LaRosa and Repcaru said they love the french toast, and I can attest that it was this dish that made both my date and I agree with the chorus around us — we were definitely coming back.
We quickly fell in love with the Norwegian eggs benedict and grilled asparagus, both of which were amazingly fresh and beautifully presented, the vibrant reds of the tomatoes in the salads in perfect contrast with the perfectly green asparagus.
“So we’ll be coming here every week?” my husband said as he finished his meal, stretched contentedly and sipped his mimosa and coffee in a restaurant characterized by large windows that flood the area with natural light and brick walls that were redone just last year.
Since Barosa opened in 2004, it has expanded three times to accommodate the influx of customers. Their last expansion included opening Barosa To Go, their takeout, catering and delivery business located two doors down from the restaurant.
Growing the business means more than allocating space for customers, LaRosa emphasized — its making sure you treat the customers “like family.”
“Everyone who walks into this place is greeted with a big hello and of course a great big smile,” LaRosa said.
Next up for Barosa is its new project, a major renovation in the takeout store.
Although individuals may still pick up food at the same location, it will be transformed into a brick oven pizzeria with sit-down service.
LaRosa said they are looking forward to the change, which will allow them to serve a wide variety of brick oven pizzas, oversized calzones and “some really different dishes.”
“Me and my partners are listening to our customers,” LaRosa said. “They keep asking for a very casual place to run in for a quick brick oven pizza and a cold beer, so we are answering the call.”
Barosa also offers an extensive dinner menu.
It can hold parties for up to 75 people in its main dining room or 40 people in a separate private room.
Brunch is offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
The restaurant is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays througoh Thursdays, 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
Valet parking is offered seven days a week.
Visit the website at barosas.com for party, takeout and catering menus.
For more information, call the restaurant at (718) 424-1455.