I intensely dislike the no-reservation trend at popular new restaurants. I know that many restaurants complain about the money/time/effort wasted on no-shows, but I never did that. I was the good girl, the one who stressed about getting to the restaurant in time, the one who always canceled a reservation if I wasn’t able to make it. Why should I be punished for the screw-ups?
So when my husband and I walked into the no-reservation restaurant Rose’s Luxury on Barracks Row Saturday night and were gently informed that it would be a two-and-a-half hour wait, I reacted with an eye roll and a, “You’ve got to be out of your…” My vastly more-patient husband slid in front of me and said, “That will be fine.”
The wait, he’d guessed, was not going to be as long as they'd estimated. He was right. Damn him.
After an hour-and-a-tad, his phone received the text that our table was ready. Once we sat down in this fairyland-like restaurant with its playful food and deep-down-to-the-root-of-my-taste-buds flavors, I knew even a longer wait would have been worth it.
Rose’s Luxury has embraced that nostalgia-for-a-simpler-time look of exposed brick-and-concrete walls, garden lights strung indoors and a quirky ‘50s refrigerator behind the bar. But there was something more fanciful and unexpected than many of the chalkboard-infested restaurants – Rose’s gives you a high, Spanish iron window to look out from the second floor and offers you your silver dinnerware from a beautiful polished wooden box. Servers announce each plate with mouth-watering detail, and gold leaf decorated our rice.
The cocktail menu was interesting but we were unfortunately unimpressed with the two we ordered. The White Manhattan was almost oily with a heavy eucalyptus flavor; my husband’s drink was cloyingly sweet. Would we give it another go? Based on how impressed we were by the food, definitely.
Rose’s offers small plates and a couple family-style entrees. When our meal began with a small, Potato brioche loaf – crackly, crisp crust and a soft, steaming interior – with a side of potato-skin butter, we began to really look forward to the rest of the food we’d ordered. The Jonah crab claws were tasty yet unmemorable. But the grilled asparagus with pineapple aioli and the strawberry tomato pasta – I can still taste them. I wish I was tasting them. Right now. The grilled asparagus, sprinkled with bright bits of pineapple, crispy fried jalapenos and a neon-green chive oil, was the answer to that question: “If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?” The strawberry tomato pasta was as appealing as the name is unappealing. A sweet pasta? The sweetness balanced the heat and spice from black pepper and red onion.
For our family-style entrée, we ordered the smoked brisket, which came on a silver platter with slabs of charred Texas toast. The brisket was like butter, rich and smoky and spreadable on the bread. The sides – horseradish and cole slaw – were delicious, but I really didn’t want anything to intrude with my meat butter.
Seating is sprinkled throughout Rose’s Luxury – outdoors, upstairs, along two bars and fronting the kitchen, at two-tops lined up side-by-side and at four-tops with a little more elbow room. We were at a two-top and, unfortunately, the more the threesome to the right of us drank, the more they were certain their jokes were entertaining the rest of the restaurant. By that point, however, I’d lost the bad attitude I’d begun the night with. Rose’s Luxury had imparted its fairy dust of conviviality, and I laughed right along.
Mon.-Thurs.: 5:30-10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 5-11 p.m.
They don't take reservations; don't ask. But they're really nice.