March Foodie: Esteban Rosas

Man standing in a kitchen and smiling.
Esteban Rosas of Black Market

It’s not easy to take over for a local culinary legend, but Esteban Rosas crossed that off when he accepted the executive-chef gig at Black Market after cofounder Micah Frank stepped down last year. After surviving his first holiday season running the kitchen, including the legendary year-end Black Market Holiday Beer Brunch, any nervousness was gone. “Okay, I’ve got this,” says Rosas, already in the Rudisell restaurant family as sous chef at Rook. “We can move forward and still be a great restaurant.”

Black Market was already in transition when Rosas took over, shifting from a menu focused primarily on comfort foods to a more refined Mediterranean feel. Rosas took it a step further, ditching as much as he could in the kitchen that isn’t housemade. Take his favorite dish, shrimp agnolotti: Rosas makes the pasta dough himself, mixes in roasted carrots and shrimp he grinds in the kitchen, fills it with housemade smoked ricotta, and finishes it with a sauce made from juice of the carrots and house-pickled Calabrian chilies. The simple-looking dish is filled with the complex flavors and techniques that Rosas has been perfecting since he graduated from culinary school and worked in several local kitchens, from butcher at Sullivan’s Steakhouse, to right-hand man of Alan Sternberg at Cerulean, to cooking at Rook under chef Carlos Salazar. “I’ve always loved the Black Market space, and what they’ve done for the last eight years,” says Rosas. “I’m excited to put my spin on it.”