It’s very rare that the first visit to a brand new restaurant can leave such a joyous first impression. In fact, I almost feel guilty blogging about it because I want it all to myself. Rose’s Luxury, the newest addition to Capitol Hill, is already one of my favorite restaurants. I feel confident in saying that because every aspect, from the food to the service to the atmosphere, made our evening special.
We were able to procure a table for four in the upstairs part of the restaurant without a wait on a Saturday night, something I sincerely doubt will happen anytime soon once the word gets out on this place. I loved the cozy, unpretentious vibe of Rose’s – from the antique chandeliers hanging from the ceiling to the dining room soundtrack that featured Divine Fits. Everything just felt so homey while the crisp, autumn breeze drifted through the open windows.
Chef Aaron Silverman’s menu focuses around small plates and is broken down into several categories such as cold dishes, pasta, and grilled items. On top of that, the restaurant offers two family-style entrees to share amongst the table. What really impressed us was that nearly half of the dishes were either vegetarian or could be prepared as vegetarian-friendly (the pork sausage, for instance). Considering we had a vegetarian in our party, this was music to our friend’s ears.
Before we had even placed our order, our waiter brought over what I thought was our first dish. Instead, it was actually an amuse bouche of grilled octopus, compliments of the chef. And I should use the term “amuse bouche” loosely as this was a portion large enough to share for the entire table. Gorgeously presented and garnished with a burnt lemon puree, the fresh octopus was a real treat.
Up next was a fresh loaf of potato bread from the kitchen. Served on antique china, which would make several appearances throughout the meal, the bread was so warm, soft, and delicious that I almost asked a second loaf. When you pair it up with the accompanying butter, which was topped with fried pieces of potato skin, it almost feels like you’re eating a loaded baked potato. (Side note: Jessica Sidman of the Washington City Paper wrote a fantastic article on the resurgence of bread baskets in the area).
The dish that followed was Rachel’s favorite of the night: popcorn soup with grilled lobster. One of the most creative dishes we have tried this year, it’s exactly how it sounds – creamy soup that tastes like movie butter popcorn. Blended with bits of lobster, the soup was able to achieve its buttery flavor without being overpowering. Our waiter was even kind enough to provide them in separate jars as each couple was sharing their respective soup. Very nice gesture.
The burnt romaine with avocado, poblano, and Cotija cheese was another hit amongst the table. The poblano gave the charred romaine a subtle kick while the crumbled Cotija added a good amount of texture to it. I also appreciated how the kitchen was able to take something as bland as a romaine salad and transform it into such an inventive dish.
The caramelized cauliflower, which was situated under a bed of Greek yogurt and raisins and topped with breadcrumbs, was also fantastic.
After that came our first pasta dish, Cacio e Pepe, which literally means cheese and pepper. As minimalist as it gets, the execution was flawless. The homemade pasta seamlessly blended with the cheesy, peppery sauce. In fact, it was so good that we ordered a second helping of it!
Just as good was the strawberry spaghetti. Prepared with ricotta and black pepper, there was more a hint of strawberry in this dish than a burst of it, and that’s a good thing.
Then came the main event. We decided (well, at least three of us) to conclude dinner with the family-style serving of smoked brisket. Served with slices of Texas toast, pickled cabbage, and horseradish cream, the incredibly tender brisket rivaled that of barbecue you’ll find in Kansas City, or anywhere else for that matter. It was so soft that you didn’t even need a knife. And while it was a little fatty, it didn’t matter. I loved every bite of it. For $28, it’s one of the better values at Rose’s considering the generous portion as it was more than enough for the three of us.
Just when we thought we were full, our waiter ran down a trio of dessert options available, with the homemade brioche battered in cinnamon toast ice cream sounding the most tantalizing. Originally topped with foie gras, our waiter was able to take it off for half the price so that all four of us could share it. Instead, it was topped with the cinnamon toast ice cream. And yes, it was just as amazing as it sounded.
As for the service, it was impeccable. Our waiter was not only very knowledgeable about the menu but also had a great personality to boot. Everyone was so warm and inviting, and the positive vibes kept flowing throughout the evening. Each and every one of us was very happy not only with the meal, but also the overall experience. It’s hard to find a flaw in Rose’s Luxury, and considering they have only been open less than a month, that is pretty darn impressive.