Austin. Having just returned from a trip there a couple weeks ago, we saw similarities to the menu approach at qui. But what was very different was the more kitschy feeling with the decor, dishes, and silverware coming from a mix of Good Will collections and artist friends' contributions. The staff was quite friendly and inviting, giving a calm "welcome to my house" type of down-to-earth feel. I also appreciated the snarky remarks noted on the menu, which adds some personality to a traditionally sterile presentation.
Next, Keith ate three Malpeque Oysters that came topped with a "Dark & Stormy" granita, that tasted, well exactly like a Dark & Stormy. The oysters themselves were plump and briny, just as Keith likes 'em. Also, we shared a cold salad of Pork Sausage, Habanero, & Lychee. We were instructed to stir everything together and then take a big spoonful. We complied, and that first bite transported me to a tropical oasis with Thai flavors of coconut, peanuts, and mint balanced with sweet lychee fruit, red onions, and tender sausage. It was a memorable dish and highlight of the evening. Immediately after, we were presented with the renowned Popcorn Soup that had garnered so much early popularity during Chef Aaron's pop-up stint at Hogo back in March. The rich buttery soup was very luxurious with chunks of grilled lobster. I agree with Tom Sietsema that the dish could be a bit excessive, but I appreciated the divvied out portion (in a small glass jelly jar) that we were each presented with. It was just the right amount decadence.
Continuing with the luxury theme, I ordered the simple pasta dish Cacio e Pepe. I had this dish for the first time in Philly and completely fell in love. Rose's preparation was just as classic with strong notes of black pepper and creamy cheese. Keith thought it was too rich, especially since we just had the popcorn soup. But I could eat bowls and bowls of this pasta.
From the warm/grilled section of the menu we ordered the Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken that came drizzled with honey and topped with benne seed, similar to sesame. The chunks of boneless thigh meat were juicy and covered in a crunchy panko that gave a kara'age effect. While the honey added an extra sweet note, I enjoyed this dish tremendously. We also ordered the Crispy Octopus with a burnt lemon coating, served with fresh herbs and the ubiquitous swoosh of sauce on the plate, this time a thick black ink. The lemon flavor really came through with the char of the octopus. This dish was delightful and a Mediterranean staple.
For being open only a couple weeks, I was impressed with not only the quality of food, but the finesse that Rose's has to offer. Since reservations are not available yet, I knocked a half point for accessibility. I hope they stay around much longer than their similar nearby (but now closed) competitor, Sūna. I really appreciated the creativity by Chef Johnny Spero and see the same traits in Chef Aaron. Both are thinking progressively about food culture and delivering some top notch meals in DC. Rose's Luxury really leaves you taking their notion seriously: "eat, go home, come back tomorrow."
Total Rating: 4.63
Food: 5, Price: 4, Service: 4.5, Ambience: 4, Accessibility; 4.5
What I ate:
♥Pork Sausage, Habanero, & Lychee Salad♥
with grilled lobster
♥Cacio e Pepe♥
♥Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken♥
with honey & benne seed
with burnt lemon & fresh herbs
Vanilla Ice Cream
with olive oil & breadcrumbs
with Dark & Stormy Granita