The new restaurant from chef Vitaly Paley and Kimberly Paley, the minds behind Paley’s Place and Imperial, now has a name and concept. Rosa Rosa, named for the chef’s grandmother and the City of Roses, will incorporate flavors discovered and resurfaced through a recent vacation through Europe, exploring their ethnic backgrounds, personal histories, and the culinary crossroads of the Roman and Ottoman Empire. Simply put, they’re talking pastas, hard-to-find herbs and spices, lamb, and other flavors cherry-picked from meals in Turkey, Georgia, and beyond.
Earlier this year, the Paleys announced plans to take over the restaurant at the Dossier Hotel, the fifth restaurant in the Paley family. The two kept their plans quiet beyond that, but the chef’s Instagram post earlier this week revealed the restaurant’s new identity.
This summer, the couple decided to visit family and home countries across the Atlantic: The two met some of his family from Eastern Europe in Georgia and explored her father’s background in Turkey. The chef somewhat recently began excavating portions of his early childhood in the former Soviet Union through food, with occasional dumpling nights and Russian pop-ups at his various restaurants. This culinary exploration was newer for Kimberly Paley, however; walking through the markets of Istanbul, she was brought to tears by rediscovered spices and memories from her childhood, eating dinners at her Nanna’s house. The two decided to bring back those memories and spices to Rosa Rosa, to do something deeply personal. That doesn’t mean it’s traditional, however.
“We’re all trying to find a place of comfort and home — going back to our roots, going back in time,” chef Paley says. “I’m not necessarily saying that it’s strictly Turkish food or Russian food; it’s nothing that authentic. My takeaway from a trip like this [is], ‘I know what authentic food tastes like; what can I apply to what we have here?’”
While the menu is still in development, the two know the restaurant will have a focus on larger European essentials, like hand-rolled pastas, with the potential for some dumplings. Other than that, the chef is keeping the details close to the chest — for now. Both of them know that this one has to be fun.
“At all of our restaurants — I remember Paley’s back then — we were thinking about what Portland needed. All of a sudden, this came to us: What’s the kind of stuff we want to eat?” Kimberly Paley says. “We’re not trying to imitate at all. Let’s do something that we like.”
- Paley’s Place [Official]
- Vitaly Paley [Instagram]
- Portland Dining Kingpin Vitaly Paley Is Opening His Fifth Restaurant [EPDX]
- Previous Paley’s Place coverage [EPDX]
- Previous Imperial coverage [EPDX]