I think my meal at Rose’s Luxury became hands down one of my favourite meals I’ve ever had in the United States. I had read enough reviews to get me all hyped up, after all the current outgoing President, Mr Barack Obama had dined here twice or more. And that man has good taste. But I still wasn’t quite prepared for how much I enjoyed it.
My experience almost wasn’t meant to be as I moseyed to the Eastern Markets early Saturday night in the middle of a chilly February, thinking you know, maybe the internet had exaggerated the lines. I had spent a little too long strolling through Arlington Cemetery in the afternoon and I had panned to be at the restaurant 30min before it’s opening at 5pm. Arriving at 5:30pm, I didn’t spot the line until I had passed the unassuming facade. Holy shit. I stood at the back of a 25 strong queue, thinking, look I’m one person, usually they can squeeze me in a corner or at the bar somewhere. Fifteen minutes in, I’m cold and tired, so I decidedly approached the front of house outside, with my best “tired, single tourist” routine. It’s a two hour wait he replied, same with the bar on Saturday nights. Yikes, two hours? I was not prepared to wait. So I ended up at the Garrison up the street. Which was superb in it’s own right, that roasted cauliflower dish was killer! The strength of the D.C food scene really surprised me.
With Rose having Sunday off and my last night in D.C been the Monday, I had one more shot at the Luxury. After trying to frantically wrap up D.C’s plethora of museums, it was time once again to see if I could get a seat at the most popular restaurant in DC. And this time I waltzed right into a spot at the kitchen bar. Honestly I’m so thankful for open kitchens and kitchen bars these days, as a nerd there’s nothing better than watching other perfectionists work and elevate their craft.
The night kicked off with the complimentary house potato loaf & whipped butter. The loaf was for 2+ but they don’t just give you half, if you’re sitting by yourself, no you still get the whole loaf. Brioche like, the bread was soft & pillowy, slightly sweet and went well with the sour whipped butter, sprinkled with fried potato skins. A chef once said, the restaurant is only as good as the bread it bakes. And boy at this point I knew I was in for a treat. My only problem was how many things I wanted to try and the restrictions of my stomach space. Oh yeah and I finished the whole loaf, you don’t waste food that good!
Oyster with apple and wasabi granita
I usually don’t order oysters, I’m a snob when it comes to seafood, when your parents have owned a fish & ship/Seafood shop for 15 years you get very discerning with seafood in general. But this was a nice aperitif for the palate. The granita refreshing and the oyster was very fresh.
Pork sausage, Habanero, Peanuts & Lychee salad.
This was the dish that every damn reviewer/blogger talked about. So I was totally hyped up for itm with some saying that they’d ordered it twice, once for main and once for dessert. I was HYPED GUYS, soooo fricking hyped. The problem with being this hyped is that there was NO way the dish could have met my lofty expectations. The salad of pork sausage, mixed south-east Asian herbs, onion, lychee and coconut cream was delicious don’t get me wrong but coming from Sydney, a city with the best Thai cuisine outside of Thailand, I just felt it needed an extra kick of something. The flavour reminded me a lot of larb type salads but I think it sorely lacked the fish sauce note. I wonder if that’s a type of funk that inner city DC hipsters might not entirely warm up to.
Confit Goat with BBQ sea island red peas, rice and garlic breadcrumbs
So not only does Rose’s Luxury have complimentary awesome bread, the kitchen also gives every table a free taster dish. I dunno about you but when people provide me with free food they are usually on their way to becoming my best friend. I thought about ordering this dish and I probably should have since it was bloody delicious. The goat confit was super tender, the crunchy beans danced textural salsa with the rice porridge. “Holy shit YES”, I wrote in my notes. I love been surprised by amazingness.
Chittara “Cacio e PePe”
Okay so this is where I profess my foodie arrogance and say, look I’ve been to Italy a couple of times, I’ve had some pretty amazing pasta. Last time I was there, I spent 6 days eating my way through Bologna & the Emilia-Romagna region. So I think I know my pasta right? Well, Rose’s Luxury just told me, ‘No, you fucking don’t”. The hand cut Chittara was tossed perfectly in the Cacio e Pepe sauce, it was silky, smooth and perfectly al-dente. But you’re waiting for the elevation right? When hipster fusion gets it right ladies & gentleman, it’s fucking beautiful. It’s like all that self awareness, experimentation, whimsy and taste come into the one entity. So add buttery roasted, charred almost burnt cauliflower, with garlic, sultanas and chilli flakes and suddenly the Chittara becomes the best pasta dish I’ve ever had. Again from my notes, I exclaimed “WOW, WOW, WOW”, like a deranged chihuahua finding pasta nirvana.
Coconut Milk Ice Cream, Burnt Coconut, Lime & Kiwi
I got the lightest thing on the dessert menu because by this point I was well and truly stuffed (damn you potato loaf!). Unfortunately it wasn’t as light as I would have liked. I thought the burnt coconut and caramel just a touch too sweet and the acidity of the kiwi wasn’t entirely enough to cut through. More lime needed. maybe some lime granita. But look it’s probably more to do with the fact that I had ate everything above.
Overall the monetary damage was surprisingly light for the amazing experience I had. And oh man, I always appreciate humour on the docket. More comedy and whimsey please!
Rose’s Luxury was a totally BAMF restuarant experience, well worth the trip to Washington D.C.