I swore up and down that I’d never let myself be abused by a restaurant that makes people line up and stand in the heat all afternoon rather than take reservations. Never again. It’s ridiculous, like that bitchy girl in high school who always showed up late because she thought she was so great that everyone should know she was worth waiting around for. No, Chelsea, this isn’t high school and that shit ain’t cool.
But for the second week in a row, we all failed to get same-day reservations at Rose’s Luxury and I was so fed up with that nonsense that I armed myself with a bottle of ice water, a good book, and at 3:30 was surprised to find that I was the actual first person in line. Me.
I’ll spare you the details of my agonizing wait and the mental anguish I suffered at the hands of the woman who told me I probably still wouldn’t get a table. We got seated right away and were immediately brought the most delicious peppery cheesy monkey bread while we awaited our drinks.
The short but sweet beer list provided the sour, fruited IPA from Commonwealth in the top right that I actually loved. I got the mezcal cocktail, which was simultaneously strong and refreshing, and my husband got the cocktail with the brisket-infused bourbon. Yes, you read that right: brisket-infused bourbon. It didn’t taste nearly as weird as it sounds–slightly smoky and slightly rich with a maple sweetness.
We ordered a few of the small plates and one large dish for the table. A couple who had waited in line behind me couldn’t stop talking about the popcorn soup. I would have never ordered this but based on their ravings and our server’s pushing, I asked for two cups for the four of us to split.
No, this is not the fancy-ass candle that it looks like. This? This is an abomination. They promised me lobster and there were two tiny cubes of lobster meat lurking in the bottom. Other than that, it was true to its name. Too true. It was like taking a spoon to a cup of movie theater butter-flavored sauce. Listen, I have been known to cut an extra slice off a stick of butter and literally just eat straight butter. I am gross as hell and that is a thing I do! And I am telling you that this “soup” was at least three steps beyond my disgusting limit. Hard pass.
Fortunately, it picked up from there. Next up was the lychee salad. The cool, smooth sweetness of the lychees was perfect against the spice and grit of the sausage. Rich coconut cream and zingy red onions rounded it out. 10/10 would eat again.
Our server delivered the farfalle with ‘nduja. “Wait! But we didn’t order this!” I protested, really only halfheartedly, in the way you might protest if your parents presented you with a brand new car. And, like the best dad in the world, our server responded, “It’s a gift from the house!” The pasta had a good chew and I love me some honey on spicy sausage. More please!
Here is the strawberry pasta that we did order. First of all, gotta love the big glob of fresh ricotta. Secondly, who would think to make a pasta sauce out of strawberries instead of tomatoes? A genius, that’s who. I thought this would be dessertier but it absolutely wasn’t. Strawberries are a perfect sweet-sour replacement for tomatoes, although I actually wish this dish were served cold.
Finally, our big plate of brisket arrived. Everyone knows how I (and, more notably, my husband) feel about brisket. But this isn’t a BBQ restaurant and considering I ordered a soup made out of butter-flavored popcorn seasoning, I was willing to give them some leeway in their interpretation.
The meat, while not the barky, smoky Texas-style brisket that gets my spouse all diatribe-y, it was no-knife-necessary with melty fat and rich flavor. Mustard BBQ sauce is my favorite anyway, so I adored their unnaturally yellow condiment. I don’t know what’s up with the Wonderbread, but they should have at least toasted it.
Why yes, I did save room for dessert! A few of the desserts were speaking to me but I ultimately went with the creme fraîche tart because fatty dairy products get me hot and bothered every time. My mother-in-law also got the chocolate cake.
I will be honest, the chocolate cake was kind of dry (especially for flourless) and the cashew icing didn’t taste like much. Not worth the calories. On the other hand, I naturally loved the creme fraîche tart, which was unexpectedly light and fluffy like a perfect soufflé, and then topped with even more fatty dairy products with the vanilla sabayon. Heaven.
Price: $70 per person.
Bottom line: Rose’s was maybe worth waiting an hour and a half, but only because we got in right away. I still think that forcing people to line up like cattle is rude AF. The food was imaginative and mostly amazing. Have some self-respect and stay away from the popcorn soup. You can’t otherwise go wrong.