Rocco Trotta is no stranger to New York City landmarks. As co-founder and chairman of the board of The LiRo Group, a construction management and engineering firm, he has contributed to projects including the post-September 11 rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, the No. 7 Subway Line Extension, and the High Line Park.
At Rocco Steakhouse, the entrepreneur has created a different kind of landmark—a modern steakhouse at 72 Madison Avenue between 27th and 28th street. Rocco’s career in hospitality was inspired by his father, who owned a luncheonette in Brooklyn, and developed from a passion for sharing fine food and wine with friends and family. The spark that ignited the project began at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, where he connected and bonded with his current partners, general manager Pete Pjetrovic (previously GM at Wolfgang’s for 10 years) and beverage director Jeff Kolenovic.
At Rocco Steakhouse, Pjetrovic and Kolenovic, along with Executive Chef Johnny Jevric (also a veteran of Wolfgang’s) will continue to build on the strong relationships they built during their long tenure at Wolfgang’s. Every employee has worked for at least 10 years at a top New York steakhouse—including head waiter and sommelier Henry Doda, who worked with Pjetrovic at Wolfgang’s for 10 years under the same titles.
The space was designed in collaboration with David de Angelis. The U-shaped bar has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over Madison Avenue. Opposite the bar an accent wall of Giallo di Sienna stone bathes the room in a red-flecked glow. Picture-frame ceiling lighting fixtures light the dining room, highlighting the mesh gold and silver accents inspired by historic Italian butcher gloves. And in the back, there is a more intimate dining room with a wall of wines.
The bar specializes in classic American cocktails, with a focus on detail and balance. The extensive and deep wine list includes wines from California, Australia, France, and Italy—including many full-bodied reds that pair well with steak—and a special selection of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley. Guests can settle in for an afternoon or evening at the bar—and choose from a selection of appetizers such as Tuna Tartare or Oysters Rockefeller, graze on Rocco’s Chopped Salad, composed of spinach, romaine, peas, corn, carrots, cucumber, hearts of palm, avocado, and red cabbage or a Salad Nicoise with fresh, perfectly seared tuna, or dig into heartier fare such as a Classic Sirloin Burger or a New York Sirloin Steak Sandwich.
Executive Chef Jevric leads the kitchen with more than 20 years of culinary experience at fine dining restaurants in New York City, including the past 10 as executive chef at Wolfgang's. At Rocco Steakhouse, USDA prime beef is dry-aged onsite in the restaurant’s aging box; fresh seafood, poultry, vegetables, and other produce are sourced from local farmers, butchers and other local businesses.
The Chilled Seafood Tower is piled high with the freshest seafood available in the market that may include oysters and clams on the half shell, steamed lobster, jumbo shrimp, and stone crab—all also sold as individual appetizers. Other appetizers are the Crab Cake and extra thick cut Sizzling Canadian Bacon. Salads include the steakhouse classics—Caesar, Iceberg Wedge with bacon and Roquefort cheese, Sliced Beefsteak Tomatoes for two—as well as Arugula Apple and Pear Salad with shaved parmesan, and Rocco’s Chopped Salad.
Steaks and chops include Porterhouse for two or more, New York Sirloin, Filet Mignon, and Ribeye. Other meat selections include a wide range of veal dishes (Italian classics Milanese, Parmesan, Ossobuco), as well as Veal Chops and Lamb Chops. Broiled Red Snapper, Salmon, and Halibut, as well as Jumbo Shrimp Scampi and 3.5 Pound Steamed Lobster are also available.
Steakhouse sides include Potatoes five ways: German Potatoes, roasted until crisp; Steak or Cottage Fries, Mashed or Baked. Creamed Spinach, Asparagus or Broccoli, sautéed or steamed, Batter Fried or Sautéed Onions, and Lobster Mac and Cheese (with or without truffle oil).
For dessert, selections include, Crisp Apple Strudel, complex, layered Tiramisu, thick, rich, yet somehow light Cheese Cake, Key Lime Pie, Pecan Pie, and Hot Fudge Sundae all can be enhanced by house made Schlag—uber-thick, rich and sweet whipped cream.