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At Davis Square’s newest Rosebud incarnation, diner classics mixed with Indian flavors

Fried chicken and buttermilk waffle with coconut and maple syrup at Rosebud Bar & Kitchen in Somerville, which reopened with new ownership and a new menu.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Where to: Rosebud in Davis Square.

Why: For the newest incarnation of a neighborhood institution since 1941, now with an Indian twist.

The backstory: This lovable dining car has lived many lives. Alpine Group owner Joe Cassinelli (The Painted Burro, Posto) sold it this summer after taking over in 2014. Now, it’s run by the Bindaas Restaurant Group, with connections to 1947 in Norwood and Godavari in Woburn.

New Hampshire native Keith Sarasin is the new chef. He runs Aatma (“soul” in Hindi), a pop-up Indian dinner series. He’s also written several cookbooks, including “The Farmer’s Dinner,” collaborating with “Top Chef”'s Chris Viaud, known for Ansanm in Milford, N.H.


Inside, everything looks exactly the same, right down to the noirish cherry-red booths and pies in the pie case (provided by Petsi’s nearby). At 6 p.m., it’s quiet. By 7 p.m., the front dining room is full.

The diner seating at Rosebud.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

The food: There’s a mix of Rosebud originals and Indian dishes. Traditionalists will find a bacon cheeseburger ($19), French toast ($15), buttery mac-n-cheese ($16), and an assortment of hot dogs served with standard condiments or Indian vegetable chili ($14). The rest of the menu appears new. A quartet of creamy deviled eggs topped with fried curry leaves and a dusting of masala disappears fast ($10). Our server recommends the fried chicken and green chili waffle with coconut and maple syrup ($20), which my dining companion wishes were spicier. Basically, it tastes like your standard chicken and waffles, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

A chani kati roll ($12) — chickpeas rolled in stretchy, thin, whole-wheat paratha with pickled vegetables — is satisfying, if mild. Same goes for the spicy fries, which come with many dishes.

For dessert, don’t forget about pie. Our server (really friendly and helpful) suggests Mississippi Mud ($8), a gloriously dense wedge of chocolate that tastes even better refrigerated and eaten for breakfast the next day.


Haute-Diggity Dogs, one classic with ketchup and mustard and the other with Indian vegetable chili, cilantro, and red onion and a side of fries at Rosebud.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

What to drink: Cocktails are $10, and they’re fun and accessible: a dirty chai martini combines vodka and nutmeg in a creamy swirl; a mango-jalapeno margarita walks a tropical line between fruity and spicy. When my friend requests a pina colada mocktail, it materializes in moments, bright and frothy as the real thing. Beers (Idle Hands, Brooklyn Brewery) are $7 across the board. Beverage director Will Corado comes from New York City’s Ama Raw Bar.

The takeaway: An interesting hybrid menu and affordable drinks in timeless surroundings. But if you like your food fiery, say so.

381 Summer St., Somerville, 617-629-9500, www.rosebudkitchen.com

Rosebud Bar & Kitchen in Somerville.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her @kcbaskin.