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Jan 30, 2010 09:55 AM

Anyone been to Rosebud lately?

I was sad to see the "for sale" sign and was wondering if they are still putting out quality eats or are they on autopilot/who cares mode. I would like to go for a last supper before the ship sails but worry that it may not be worth my while. Has anyone been lately?

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  1. I'm not 100% sure on this, but hasn't the Rosebud been sold, as was the Citizen (which I believe will be opening in the near future with Lynn Crawford at the helm)?

    1. I went to Rosebud a few months ago...
      What an excuse of a place.
      I have never walked out of a restaurant mid meal before (still paid for my meal but couldn't have more than a few spoonfuls).
      service was horrible, and the food was worse. I had to go to the McDonalds next door afterwards....

      They couldnt even boil broccoli right.... they couldn't even do a steak tartare right... (it was grey by the time it arrive on my plate because it was drenched in vinegar)

      Whatever their faith is - I feel bad for the owners, but they were seriously stealing from patrons charging Queen West price for such a horrible dining experience.

      14 Replies
      1. re: injek

        This doesn't sound like the Rosebud I know and love. Are you sure you've got the right place?

        Also, what does 'whatever their faith is' mean?

        1. re: dxs

          To clarify, the Rosebud under discussion is at 669 Queen W, around Bathurst (couldn't add the !$%@ link for some reason).

          1. re: dxs

            I know what you mean. For many of us Rosebud was a definite "go to" place. Never had a bad dish there, let alone a bad meal.

            Last time I went was in November and it was still good, but the food was never as spectacular as it was before Bowers opened the Citizen. My fondest memories will be of the many dinners and "luppers" I had there before Bowers turned his focus to the Citizen and then to, well whatever it is he is doing now - saw him on that show marriage under construction, looks like he is taking a "family time-out".

            The Citizen was definitely sold to Crawford, the Rosebud was for sale a few weeks ago for $95,000.00, not sure if it sold or not.

            Sad to see it go, but hopefully Bowers will open another spot in the future. I would go in a heartbeat.

            1. re: JPJ

              Rosebud was listed on a local "restaurants for sale" website, but the listing recently disappeared. Not sure if that means it sold, or if Bowers had a change of heart.

              1. re: gregclow

                I know that Bowers was busy shooting "Marriage Under Construction" for HGTV. Not sure if that is done yet or not. That may have put any plans for the restaurants on hold.

            2. re: dxs

              LOL....I'm thinking he/she meant to say 'fate'.

              1. re: millygirl

                oops sorry, I did mean to say "fate"... serves me right for not re-reading my post

                I went to Rosebud a few months ago and this was my experience:
                They sat us right beside the door, and there was a private party happening in the back. People kept on coming in and out for cigarette breaks.
                We asked the waitress whether we could change tables, but they couldn't accommodate us because the restaurant was fully booked. (apart from the party dying down, there was only one other couple.)

                The traffic and the breeze were really distracting, but we understood that it was beyond the restaurant's control. After 30 minutes, we couldn't take it anymore because it was just too cold, and the smokers were holding the doors open, that they switched us to one of the tables beside the bar. Every member of the party eventually left by the time we received our first course.
                My friend had a Caesar salad, which consisted of a creamy sauce and an entire head of romaine lettuce.
                I had the steak tartare and by the time I received it, the meat was grey because it was sitting in so much vinegar, and so the acid cooked up the meat. I couldn’t eat it. It looked like dog food sitting in vinegar.

                When we were done with our first course, 25 minutes passed before someone cleared our tables. 2 waitresses for 3 tables, and a guy at the bar (who btw, was really focused on cleaning all his glasses). None of them cleared our plates. For the people that have been to Rosebud, you'll understand that our table was right in front of the bar, so the waitresses had to pass by our table every few minutes to get drinks or cutlery at the bar.
                We even put our napkins on our plates, and still they didn't notice.

                It was not until I called the waitress over for another glass of wine that she goes (looking at our napkins on the plates): "are you guys done?"

                To get my other glass of wine was another ordeal... that was another 20 minutes of watching them pass by, looking at my empty glass... staring at the guy at the bar 3 feet away, cleaning the all the glasses. When we reminded them, they were like "yes we are on it" and yet walked off away from the bar!!!
                Again, at this point, there were only 3 tables to take care of and they were all eating at this point, so I really couldn’t understand the hold up.

                Before we received our second course, the whole floor was empty - no waitresses, no one at the bar. This lasted for a good 5-8 minutes. I'm not in the restaurant or service industry, but had it been my place, I would never leave the floor unattended like that.

                When we received our second course, I finally got my second glass of wine.

                My friend asked for bread because she noticed that every other table had bread except for ours. The girl was perfectly pleasant and went back to the kitchen to get it.

                My friend had the gnocchi, which was OK... but it was 22$, which in my books, as soon as you hit the 20$ mark for pasta, the quality should be somewhat more superior than your average place. For Rosebud, this simply implied a bigger portion. It was gnocchi sitting in gorgonzola soup. I could have achieved this with pre-made gnocchi, a block of gorgonzola and a microwave.

                I had some sort of meat (I'm sorry, I can't recall)... The meat was actually not bad but the sauce was really overbearing. Any chef would know that they should be careful not to overpower a dish when they make a reduction. Thank god the sauce was at the bottom and I could still save the meat. I also ordered a side of greens (can't remember if it was broccoli or rapini) - but I remembered that they over boiled it and the colour and the shape was gone - it was just sitting there completely lifeless on the dish.

                After 20 minutes after receiving our main course, my friend reminded one of the waitresses of her bread request. Again, she smiled and said that it was on its way.

                After another 10 minutes, we asked the first waitress, who sighed and then in a really irritated tone said: "I know I know, it’s on its way... they are preparing it. And btw we don’t give out bread, it’s actually on the menu with a spread so it will be an additional charge" while walking off.

                We were so irritated at that point that we both dropped our cutleries and demanded the bill. The older waitress (probably the one in charge) came over to ask us if everything was ok... We mentioned them taking 25 minutes to clear our plates, 20 minutes for wine, and 30 minutes for bread (and still didn't get it btw). And then we also complained about the quality of the food - and I told her that my steak tartare was overcooked... and she looked at me with a satisfied grin and goes "well I don't know if you know this, but tartare is not supposed to be cooked"... I responded "my point exactly, you might want to tell your chef to ease off on the vinegar because the acidity cooks the meat". She then said "ok well, I can comp you for the wine, but not for your meals".

                No apology.... The thing is, I would never walk out without paying, or ever expect anything to be free. So I didn't care about having to pay for my meal because I expected to spend the money in the first place whether the meal was to my satisfaction or not. What I did mind is the complete lack of care or acknowledgment that this was below standards. I would at least respect them more if they said "sorry we had a bad night, (insert excuse)"... cause every one makes mistakes and has off nights.... but no, what I got was attitude.

                I seriously felt like I was in an episode of Ramsay's Kitchen nightmare -- the original British one. Completely empty, and full staff – yet they could not deliver the basics.

                I would normally still be interested to go to the Citizen because of the good reviews - but I can't help to be judgmental and compare it to my experience with Rosebud - and I wouldn't want to pay money to support that level of service. I really feel that restaurants like Rosebud that succeed, is an insult to the restaurant industry.

                Sorry, it was not the Mcdonald's that I went to afterwards --- I went to Pizza Pizza --- that's how desperate I was.

                Sorry for my rant, I normally never post anything on this site except for questions... but this I had to share.

                1. re: injek

                  Thanks for the in-depth review injek. These are tough times for most people, and definitely for restaurants. They should have done everything possible to make your dining experience a pleasure. Sorry to hear it was so bad.

                  1. re: injek

                    A pity that this was what was necessary to persuade you to post. But very complete. I urge you to post more - that way when you make a critical post, it will carry more weight as you will (probably) have posted some favourable reviews so readers will give more weight to your criticisms.
                    Incidentally, one meal at Rosebud was more than enough for me - I also left food. I've commented once before, but don't see the point in repeating criticism ad nauseam (I made exceptions for two places that REALLY screwed me).
                    Incidentally, I'm much more likely to try and help people who provide feedback/reviews. I now rarely respond to requests from people who only 'ask' and never 'reply'.

                    1. re: injek

                      Wow that is so sad to hear. Thank god it is closing, if you look search on this board for prior posts you will see the Rosebud once enjoyed a reliably good reputation.

                      As I said, I have been literally dozens of times without an incident although I was never as crazy about the food after Bowers left the kitchen.

                      What you describe is literally like a bizarro world version of the Rosebud I knew. RIP.

                      1. re: JPJ

                        I have highly recommended Rosebud on this board, and it was a favorite.
                        I quite agree with the comments, sad to say.
                        We went only once after the change, and did not return.

                2. re: injek

                  There's a McDonald's next door? News to me.

                  1. re: Dimbulb

                    There's no McDonald's next door... I think there's a Tim Horton's next to it?

                    I went to the Rosebud in September and didn't have any issues. The food was good and service was pleasant. It was my first time there so I can't compare to how it was before.

                    1. re: ggom1

                      closest McDs are at King & Bathurst and Dundas & Bathurst.

                      having said that my last trip to Rosebud was certainly not memorable. mediocre at best. it was several months ago, maybe the spring. can't really remember, but do remember leaving with an unsatisfied feeling.

                3. My sister and a group of friends went a month ago for her birthday. She was really excited to go after having heard so many great things about it. Unfortunately, every person in the group was underwhelmed with the food and the service. Apparently, they were out of a bunch of stuff and the server told them what was available and left them to think on it. By the time the server took my sister's order, they were out of her second choice... Bowers was there that night.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Full tummy

                    That sucks. Bowers handed over the Rosebud kitchen last year to Matt Cowan. The food was never as great but it was still good/decent and the service was nothing like what has been described here. Cowan has bounced around quite a bit, his last stint being at the ill advised Locavore on Avenue Road. This guy seems to be around for a lot of restaurant death rattles. Bowers might of come in to change the locks!

                    What was it that Jim Morrison said, it's better to burn out than fade away...too bad the Rosebud didn't burn out. I have seen this before with other formerly good restaurants and its always sad.

                    1. re: JPJ

                      Jim Morrison?...Neil Young, more like...Marimba!

                  2. Thank you everyone for your feedback. I have decided to give it one last go despite the warnings. Going into a place with lowered expectations helps the cause! All joking aside, I will report back with a full review very soon.

                    1. Gave the bud a last go tonight -- big mistake. What was once a terrific deconstructed Caesar Salad was some romaine drenched in a watery flavourless sauce. Was so bad, both my friend and I sent back. Got the blue cheese, walnut, pear salad. Was ok, but oddly the dressing still seemed watered down.

                      Ordered the striploin for the main. Thankfully that was cooked properly, but instead of yukon gold garlic mash came with weirdly dry semi mashed potatoes. Friend had the gnocchi with braised short rib ragout at my suggestion...absolutely disappointing and about a third it's normal size. Ragout was a pale orange instead of a rich brown, and again tasted watered down. This was a favourite meal of mine; it's hard to imagine how far things have gone awry in such a short time.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pitap

                        Unfortunately I have to agree with pitap. Went to Rosebud last week and it is a pale imitation of its former self. It is obvious that the captain has abandoned ship, as evidenced by the lacklustre food and lackadaisical service. Even the signature decorative items have gone (e.g. the sled). Critisizing a place in which one has enjoyed so many meals feels a little bit like dissing an ex one still has feelings for, so I'll leave it at that.