Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rose's Luxury

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My recent foray into GMAT studying has left me slightly behind on blogging.  While I have been somewhat delinquent with my foodie responsibilities, I have been dying to share some thoughts and photos from my birthday food-extravaganza at Rose’s Luxury.  The new spot, located in the Barracks Row neighborhood of DC, has been on my go-to list for quite some time.  But, the thought of the hours long wait time had me slightly anxious, so a Tuesday night early birthday dinner seemed like a great option.

When we arrived at Rose’s around 5:25 the line was already about 20 people deep (side note: Liz dropped by around 5:45pm Saturday night, put her name down for 2, and came back 2 hours later and got seated right away).  Once the doors opened we were quickly ushered to our table.  But, upon seeing the amazing seats overlooking the kitchen, I requested to be relocated to get a good view of the chefs at work.  The service at Rose’s was impeccable and they had no issue fulfilling my request.  It was awesome to watch the chefs work their magic throughout our meal.

While the menu is small (and changes quite frequently FYI), our appetites are not.  We knew we would most likely be ordering the majority of the small plate options, and order we did.  Our waitress confirmed our suspicions that basically everything is recommended, as all of the food at Rose’s is simply to.die.for.

We started with the kusshi oyster.  It was fried and served over a bourbon ginger ale granita and a dill and raw oyster tzatziki-like sauce.  It was also topped, I believe, with pickled jalapeños.  Though we only ordered one each, I could have eaten a dozen of these tasty bites.

My favorite dish of the night was the pork sausage and lychee salad with habanero sauce.  I know it sounds like a bizarre combination, and it is difficult to accurately convey the complexity of unique and satisfying flavors embodied in this dish.  Suffice it to say it was sweet, tangy, spicy, and rich in each bite.    It is served deconstructed, with each element separately placed in the bowl. The server instructed us to mix it up well before sampling, which we did.  The pork sausage, although fried, was surprisingly delicate and blended perfectly with the mix of zesty red onions, sweet lychee, and hot habanero sauce.  This dish seems to be a staple at Rose’s, so make sure you try it.

As a pasta fan, I was so excited that my not-as-enthusiastic-a-pasta-lover boyfriend agreed to order two of the house-made dishes.  We started with the ricotta-stuffed ‘gnocchi’ and quickly added the rigatoni amatriciana with smoked sheep’s milk pecorino as well.  The gnocchi were larger than others I’ve seen, and reminded me more of ravioli, stuffed with the perfect amount of cheese.  The sauce, mushroom based, was light and flavorful at the same time. 

The rigatoni amatriciana was served with a smoky and spicy guanciale (Italian bacon) sauce, topped with grated cheese and pickled red onions that added a surprising and delightful kick.  The combination of red onions with the spice-rubbed guanciale was the star of the dish, and a unique twist on traditional sauce.  It was zesty, and by far the spiciest meal of the night.

Rose’s was offering a special that night of langostino with a buttery side of rice—good, but not our favorite.  Though, we did devour it, evidenced by the fact that the only picture I was able to snap was of the remains.

For the last two courses, we went with the pickle-brined fried chicken, which was topped with honey and benne seeds and was served with the most amazing and creamiest mashed potatoes I’ve had in my life.  The chicken was crispy and the breading was flavorful.  Inside, the chicken was juicy, though I did not really get the pickle-brined flavor at all.  Still this dish was divine.  The mashed potatoes were velvety smooth.  They were topped with chives and fried potato skins that were a great textual contrast to the creamy potatoes. There are probably at least 1,000 calories in this small pot, but every bite was worth it.

The softshell crawfish with grits and hot sauce were up last.  The grits were fluffy and creamy and the crawfish was deep fried, but overall lacked the vibrancy and complexity flavors of the other plates.  This dish was low on my list of favorites, but still tasty and perfectly executed. 

Though it might seem like we would have had enough, we could not skip out on dessert.  Luckily for us, Rose’s was serving homemade donuts topped with apple caramel glaze and cheese.  It might sound strange, but trust me, it works. Sweet donuts paired with savory cheese are now high on my list of favorite desserts.

Rose’s may have stolen a spot in my heart as the best meal of my life.  I was wowed and truly inspired by the pairings of flavor and ingredient combinations. If you have appetites like us, be aware that you will pay for perfection.  The meal was also up there in terms of cost, but totally worth it. 

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