Before I continue with my wild goose chase around the world, I thought I’d put something on the table that brings you to more recent times, and also back to DC. And while I’m throwing great things your way and buttering you up (both literally and figuratively), I figured I’d make things even better by featuring the holy grail of all DC foods, the glory and honor that is Rose’s Luxury in Eastern Market.
We made two previous attempts to dine here over the past six-or-so months, and each prior visit was shut down by a wait that my delicate, sensitive whale-body could not withstand. I’m a hungry girl in a hungry world. But finally, on the lucky third try a week or so ago, armed and ready with an early Friday arrival time of 5PM, we were seated immediately and at the chef’s table nonetheless, with a direct line of vision straight into the belly of the beast, a bustling open kitchen in all its glory.
I could’ve cried. This was for many reasons, the primary reason being that I had actually prepared my aforementioned whale-body for a long wait by having a later lunch that day, so I wasn’t ravenous as one should be when encountering such scenarios of fine food. Major FML. But also because I had not prepared myself for how inviting the whole experience would be, despite the horror of a hype. Furnished like your cool best friend’s apartment with your great aunt’s vintage dishware, every piece of Rose’s puzzle welcomes you in like you were home.
Upon entering, you’ll notice the homiest of smells, and it’s because these guys are being baked by the batch. Piping hot and nicely crisped, these rolls were served with shallot butter. I can’t exactly remember what kind of ash it was covered in, but the smoky flavor paired with the savory butter was an excellent tease to what was to come. I’m typically an advocate of “softer” rolls, but the flavor in these was hard to look past, and so hot-n-fresh-out-the-kitchen, it worked for me.
If I’m eating at the best restaurant in DC, I’m obviously drinking.at the best restaurant in DC. Feeling frisky, I ordered from the gin-based offerings- the hibiscus water, cava and bitters – which was a nice balance of both floral and herbaceous, and extremely refreshing without being overly sweet. Pictured behind it is Logan’s Bourbon, Peach, Dill tincture and lemon concoction, a grown-sexy version of Peach Snapple, also supremely refreshing while light on the saccharine.
I absolutely loved this dish of pork sausage, habanero and lychee, and so did the rest of the world. Accented with red onion, some sort of whipped coconut cream, peanuts and cilantro, there were so many flavors and textures, with each bite varied from the one before with a new balance of savory/sweet/crunchy/soft/creamy/tangy. We were instructed to mix it up as much as we could – “the uglier the better”. So, ugly it became, until it hit my tongue and my tummy. This was my favorite of all the dishes!
To mix things up a bit, we ordered Marco’s Gnocci, made to order in a simple creamy sauce with black pepper and salt. While extremely simple on paper and to the eye, this dish was extremely complex, predominantly in texture. This is by far the pillowiest, softest gnocci known to mankind, and this recipe is definitely homegrown. You can just feel the familiarity of it, both in sensation and in flavor as you make your way through the plate.
Also well reviewed and highly spoken of, the caramelized cauliflower with greek yogurt “and other stuff”. Another healthy mix of sweet and tangy, serious yum yum in my tum tum. If I could cook cauliflower like this for myself every day, I would.
And now for the big she-bang, the crowning glory, the moon to my stars. Also, the point of the meal where I ran out of space in my stomach/brain/soul to eat and still enjoy it. A heaping serving of smoked brisket, white bread, horseradish and pickled slaw served on a giant silver platter to make you feel like a king and an animal at the same time. Slay me. I literally and figuratively died at this point, but at least it was in the company of well done brisket and a good-looking boy. There was so much of it, I brought it home for leftovers and had it for lunch every day the rest of that weekend. This day I keep gazing sadly and helplessly into my fridge, hoping it will reappear.
I know I said I was disgustingly full, but I couldn’t NOT get dessert. That would be sinful and a decision full of regret! So, I ordered the goat’s milk stracciatella with strawberries and spicy meringue (pictured to the right), and our lovely waitress threw in an additional dessert of smoked celery root mascarpone with chamomile-honey ice and brown butter walnut crumble. Her selection was better than mine – much lighter and easier to digest after a hefty meal with really one-of-a-kind flavors.
And if that wasn’t enough, our parting present from this godly establishment was a little, house-made jelly treat sprinkled with a bit of sugar. So you leave with something sweet, just like the whole meal you just experienced. There’s really only one way to describe this place. Rose’s Luxury is…
No but actually, there are hundreds of ways to describe it here. I can’t believe a place like this exists in DC, and it’s even harder for me to believe it’s right around the corner in Eastern Market. It’s my favorite meal experience in DC thus far, and with a clear crystal ball showing me many, many visits in the future, I can’t wait to see how the menu changes over time. With enormous portions you’ll certainly need to share (but only with your favorite people), I’d give it two-$$. If you haven’t been yet, you’ve gotta have it. It’s no joke why it’s received to-die-for-reviews from the best in the city.