Dreaming in Roses at Rose’s Luxury

Rose’s Luxury was named the Best New Restaurant of 2014 by Bon Appetit. They serve mostly small dishes with a couple of larger options served family style to share. Their menu ranges from Southern comfort food, to American, a little French, a little Italian and probably a whole bunch of other incredible exotic influences that I cannot name. Diverse menu, they have. Naturally, after checking their reviews and photos online, I had to go.

Rose’s Luxury opens at 5pm. I managed to get there at 5:06pm and there was already a long line outside. No matter. I was hungry and cause a winner don’t quit on themselves! Fortunately, I went alone so I was able to get a seat at the bar upstairs with only half an hour of waiting.

The restaurant interior is truly gorgeous. It’s farmhouse-style with twinkling lights, and a very warm and comfortable atmosphere. Though I was dining by myself, the bartender was super friendly and happy to answer questions.

The complimentary bread. It was potato brioche with whipped butter, crispy fried potato skin and fresh chives. When it came to the table on that beautiful vintage plate, the bread was toasty-warm, crunchy outside and so incredibly soft and tender inside. I’ve had regular brioche, but I think I’m becoming more partial to potato brioche. It was so light and airy, I ended up finishing the generous little loaf by the end of my meal. Plus the fried potato skin tasted so much like bacon, I didn’t believe it until the waiter told me. Who needs bacon when you have potato skin fried so well, you don’t miss the meat?

The pork sausage with habanero, peanuts and lychee salad. This is Rose’s Luxury’s signature and I am in love. It came in a little bowl, with a spoon, and I was told to mix the dollop of coconut foam on top with the rest of the ingredients, because the coconut foam is technically the sauce. I mixed everything up, and I think it was like magic happened. With each bite, I could taste the smokey, salty pork sausage bits, the heat from the Habanero, nutty crunchiness from the peanuts, the herby and pungent cilantro and red onion, the light creamy coconut and the sweet lychee meat. The flavor was total money and I didn’t even care that the combination of pork and lychee sounded a little weird at first. I am so glad I tried this dish, the beautiful blend of flavors is worth a return visit.

The grilled beef sirloin with hollandaise sauce and green papaya salad. I have never thought to pair steak and green papaya together, and the dish was really fun. While the beef sirloin with the rich and creamy hollandaise sauce was indulgent, the green papaya slaw underneath was sweet, tart and crunchy and balanced nicely with the beef. I really enjoyed the dish, but I just wished the beef sirloin was a little less chewy.

Cacio e Pepe with hand-cut trenette. I can never resist handmade pasta. Store-bought dry pasta just cannot beat the perfect, toothsome bite of fresh pasta. Plus, it’s cacio e pepe. I know it literally means cheese and pepper and the ingredients for this dish is likely painfully simple. But the pasta was creamy, peppery and sharp and the perfect comfort food.

After dinner, my bartender brought out the dessert menu. I told myself to behave and just pick one, but well, two of them looked incredibly interesting.

English pea cake, mint curd, pistachios and buttermilk. This has got to be the most gorgeous plate of dessert I have ever seen. It’s like a little garden oasis on a plate. Under the little bouquet of fresh pea shoots and petals are little pebbles of pea cake and candied pistachios. The cakes and pistachio were sweet but light enough I can still taste the subtle freshness of the peas. With the cake and the rich mint curd underneath, I actually liked having the fresh pea shoots as a texture contrast. Plus, by eating the pea shoots, I totally negated whatever calories and sugar I ate with the rest of the dessert! This was a delight to eat, but honestly, I could’ve just stared at the beautiful plate.

Innkeeper’s pie with walnuts and milk ice cream. If the English pea cake was light and healthy goodness, practically a salad, the innkeeper’s pie was dark, chocolatey-rich decadence. These two were like night and day. The pie was just a little tart in the middle of the glass plate, and with the black cocoa powder on top, I could barely see what was underneath. It did not look substantial, but  the very generous quenelle of rich, dark chocolate ganache beside the ice cream more than made up for it. The light milk ice cream was necessary because while the chocolate ganache was bittersweet, it was stick-your-mouth-together rich. The chocolate and walnuts in the pie added some crunch and sweetness, but I think the chocolate ganache stole the show. I’m quite sure that little quenelle sent me into a sugar coma just by itself.

However, that was not all I ate. I know. Before my desserts came, my bartender sent me a chilled little glass bowl of cinnamon crunch ice cream on the house.  The ice cream was delicious, I really enjoyed the contrast between the icy sweetness and the warm heat of the cinnamon. Plus it was on the house. I really appreciated the kind gesture. Later, I found out lone diners are most likely to get treated with one dish on the house at Rose’s Luxury. I thought it was a very sweet and delightful gesture,  it shows the restaurant’s focus on hospitality and making sure customers’ have a great experience. Even if it’s an ingenious strategy to get customers to come back for more, I still appreciated it.

I had an incredible experience at Rose’s Luxury, not just because of the ice cream treat. The food was creative, well-executed and delicious and I like how the menu is a wonderful fusion of different cuisines. Plus the hospitality and service at Rose’s is top notch. My server was incredibly friendly throughout my meal. And when I told her I wanted to get two desserts, she only asked if I was sure and then said she will place the order for the English pea cake first and if I still had room for the pie, she will put in the order then. I really appreciated her approach. Instead of making a comment about me ordering too much, she offered an alternative, which I felt was really thoughtful.

 

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