Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rose's Luxury

Rose's Luxury is the newest restaurant to open along Barracks Row and has already gotten a lot of attention within the first weeks.  Chef Aaron Silverman's menu focuses around small plates and is broken down into a few straight forward categories such as cold dishes, pasta, and grilled items, with two family-style entrees also available.  Many of the dishes are either vegetarian or can be prepared as vegetarian-friendly. Seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis and with this current hot buzz, expect wait times to be a little while.  Closest Metro is Eastern Market.

General Manager Andy Erdmann hails from the esteemed Uchi and Uchiko in 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.

We are familiar with the trendy small plates concept and, I admit, I had been eagerly stalking the menu in huge anticipation of Rose's opening for quite some time.  So needless to say, I was prepared to order a mix of items.  First, we ordered a bottle of Alsatian Riesling, which was presented table side as any other classy restaurant would.  We were presented with a complimentary fresh loaf of potato "Irish" bread with a whipped sour butter, topped with fried pieces of potato skin.  The combination of warm, soft, and crunchy, in addition to the flavors created the experience of eating a baked potato with sour cream and chives. I enjoy when my mind is tricked when eating food, making it fun and quite delicious.  Normally, we would just nibble on the free bread.  Instead, we happily finished the entire loaf.

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.

Finally, Keith really wanted to try a dessert so we opted for the Vanilla Ice Cream.  Sounded simple but it came with a generous pouring of olive oil and was topped with breadcrumbs for a little salty crunch.  I love a hint of saltiness in my dessert, and this combination balanced well.  The olive oil was a bit strange, but again it all worked.  As if that wasn't enough, we were presented a plate of mint chocolate meringues that were soft and chewy.  They reminded us of the soft butter mints you get at old fashioned diners, and were a nice little touch to end the meal.

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, S┼źna.  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 Micky Eats...

What I ate:
Pork Sausage, Habanero, & Lychee Salad

Popcorn Soup
with grilled lobster

Cacio e Pepe

Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken
with honey & benne seed

Crispy Octopus
with burnt lemon & fresh herbs

Vanilla Ice Cream
with olive oil & breadcrumbs

Plus Keith ate:
Malpeque Oysters
with Dark & Stormy Granita

Rose's Luxury on Urbanspoon

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