Made Winterlicious reservations at Rosewater Supper Club before I came on here and read the negative reviews from last year's Winterlicious ... and thought oh well, can't get any other reservations at this point anyway, so I'll give it a try. And I was glad I did!
Maybe the Rosewater owners/managers actually listened to the complaints about last year, because my experience there last night was great: attentive service, good food and generous portions.
I was bit nervous walking in, as there was a big crowd around the front desk and it looked disorganized. The greeters were distracted and not very welcoming, but we sat at the bar for only about 30 seconds before someone showed us to our table. The space is big and swanky, not intimate or romantic, but fun and not too loud.
Our server was a bit harried, but very gracious and sweet. Attentive, and quick but not rushed. A few errors -- like forgetting to bring us spoons with our soup -- were promptly remedied.
And speaking of the soup ... it was fantastic. Probably my favourite part of the meal, but then I'm a sucker for pumpkin soup. Spiced maple pumpkin puree with shrimp crème fraiche & fried ginger. I didn't quite get, or taste, the shrimp creme fraiche -- what would that be exactly? how do you even milk the shrimp to get the cream? But the pumpkin, the maple, and the creme fraiche were rich and creamy and the ginger was a nice counterpoint to the sweetness.
They have a Winterlicious wine menu too, which was small but nice, since most of their regular wine list started at about $50. We had an RH Phillips Sauvignon Blanc for $28.
For the second course I had the miso-glazed black cod (not grouper as on the advertised menu). Am happy to report the sugar-cube-sized portions from last year were gone; we both got a healthy chunk of fish, perfectly cooked. While the miso glaze certainly isn't the most inventive preparation, it was very well done. The cod was on a bed of a ratatouille type of sauce, with olives and some sort of tasty little fried bits that may have been capers, but whatever they were they were good. My one quibble is that the sauce and the fish didn't really mesh together -- miso glaze and ratatouille being sort of a random combination. But they both tasted great on their own, so I can't complain.
Dessert was the banana pecan bread pudding, which was delicious. It was rich in texture but with a very light banana flavour, which was nice.
Unfortunately I can't comment on any of the other menu choices because my dinner partner and I ended up getting the same thing! We both were very happy and agreed we would try Rosewater again for its regular menu sometime.
And this is my first post, so hi! I've gotten great dining advice here; hopefully this review will be helpful to someone.
I think it took about 90 minutes for the three courses ... not sure exactly, but the timing felt right to me. Prompt but not rushed. The service was good. Our waiter did seem a little frazzled, but in a sweet, trying-his-best way, not in a rushed, I-don't-have-time-for-this way. There were a few missteps, like we didn't get spoons with our soup and also didn't get our wine before the soup course arrived, but another waiter brought us spoons and very quickly fetched our wine, so it was all fine. I expect little hiccups like that on a Winterlicious night, it's how the waitstaff reacts to them that's important, and they reacted very well.
Also, the waiter brought the check quickly after we asked for it and brought it back quickly after running our card, which I appreciated -- one of my pet peeves at restaurants is having to sit there foreeeeeeeeeever after you ask for the check.
'I didn't quite get, or taste, the shrimp creme fraiche -- what would that be exactly? how do you even milk the shrimp to get the cream?'
I'm sorry but I had a big LOL at thought of shrimp being milked. I'm guessing the shrimp creme fraiche is a mix of shrimp stock (or possibly ground shrimp) and creme fraiche. The soup does sound great though. :-)
I have a friend who works the lunch shift in the kitchen. The shrimp creme fraiche is just creme fraiche with chopped up bits of shrimp. Nothing else.
For the difference in quality in food compared to previous years, my friend says that's largely due to executive chef Adam Foley running the show since last year. He works really hard and wants to ensure top quality food plus he sounds like a good guy to work for unlike many other executive chefs out there (based on the stories I'm told.) I've only met him once briefly and don't work in the industry myself so I have to take my friends opinion as gold.
the wine list you received is specifically a winterlicious wine list offered at most of the winterlicious restaurants to provide diners a more cost concious pairing.
my issue with rosewater when we went was definitely with service... but the bigger one was suddenly removing any vegetarian options which forced me to order off the regular menu.