Rose’s Luxury: review & tips for the wait

Rose’s Luxury is no longer the new kid on the block anymore, yet it still maintains consistent multiple hour weekend wait lines, and so many District dwellers we’ve encountered have yet to visit. The hype, we assure you, is real. The food is good, damn good in fact. The waits? Yeah, they’re long – but the place is small, the kitchen takes their time with each dish, and the patrons linger for a while. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go.

Nor should the fact that as of this publication, Bon Appetit Magazine just named Rose’s Luxury the Number 1 Best New Restaurant in America. So yeah…the lines…they’ll be longer.

Before we get to the food, here are some tips that we have found useful:

  1. Go when it is raining.  There isn’t much room inside to wait, so the lines often stretch around the block. When it rains, people flee. Case in point, a recent baseball game encountered heavy rains just as it was starting, a short walk to Rose’s found us eating in no time. Although very wet.
  2. Stalk the upstairs living room. There is a small bar upstairs and a small area to it’s left with a few upholstered arm chairs and a long couch with two coffee tables. You can order the full menu here. Linger, stalk, secure seating.
  3. Go early. Seems obvious, but then look at all the tweets complaining about a three hour wait when they clearly are ready to eat at 8pm on a Saturday when they arrived. Tuesday seems to be one of the best days to go. Arrive before 5pm. Even if there is a small line, you should be among those seated.
  4. Just wait. They take your phone number. Arrive, wait, give number, then go to any of the other bars and restaurants on Barrack’s Row and enjoy the wait.

Other reasons you should go is the food. Multiple hour wait lines in the SE area of the Hill aren’t there because it’s a “cool” place to be. The food is amazing. Below are just a few things we enjoyed on a recent trip (we apologize for the photo quality; dim lighting and using a flash in a restaurant is not cool).

To start, the bread is not just any regular loaf with butter. This is baked potato bread. What we mean is the fresh baked potato loaf comes with butter that has sour cream, bacon bits, and chives whisked into it. Just think about that for a minute…

Also, the décor is “adorable” as described by a dining companion. Okay, we can all agree, this bathroom is cute.

This basically says it all.

You need this tray.

And this shelf is, fine, adorable.

Their fried chicken is a riff on Asian bonchon and traditional American. Crispy and tender, topped with white sesame seeds and a touch of honey drizzle. Perfect with the traditionally Southern Crystal hot sauce (while good, we still think Joe’s Stone Crab has the best fried chicken plate and Clyde’s has the best wings in DC…sorry).

Next, the gnocchi, or as they are known here, tender pillows of pasta clouds. These are the lightest gnocchi we ever had. We later found out why, the only ingredients are flour and egg. Literally, nothing else. Served in a butter sauce with Parmesan and fresh cracked pepper, these are perfect, despite the “fuck perfect” bathroom sign.

The pasta grace continues with a salty and perfectly briny escargot and garlic pasta. On a first date? Skip this dish. The pasta is green and infused with garlic, there are chewy, salty, escargots throughout, and atop the breadcrumbs there are delicate flowers that you can eat. A fun and whimsical dish, there is some serious flavor here.

Next, we tried an Carolina Gold Anson Mills rice dish. If not familiar, this is the only rice one should use. From South Carolina and known for it’s plump and tender texture, the rice was served in the pot it was cooked in with toasted sesame seeds and a gold leaf for fun. Add some sugar and we’d eat this for breakfast. The toasted sesame seeds added a nutty flavor that was a nice contrast.

When offered, the fatty brisket is smoky, moist and tender. With red cabbage slaw and Texas toast, it’s a fun build-your-own sandwich type of deal, should you go that route.

The pork ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and topped with a variety of pickled onions and peppers. While very good, we prefer our recipe.

The bottom line: suck it up, wait, and enjoy an amazing meal.

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