Yet another fabulous evening at Rosemary's
While recent posts continue to say that Rosemary's can be a hit-or-miss proposition, it certainly has never been my experience. I've lost track of how many times I've eaten there, and every visit has been totally consistent in terms of service, food quality and overall value.
Saturday evening's visit was same as it ever was.
We had an early reservation as we were going to see Mystere at TI and had to get there an hour before showtime to pick up the tickets. My dinner companion is in the fashion industry and has a figure to maintain, so we decided to go with small plates instead of the prix-fixe deals. The plan worked out great as she was quite satisfied and I got to eat a lot without coming away too full as I have been able to do in the past.
Naysayers have complained about Rosemary's being overly salty. I would argue that it's not salt, but rather Chef's uncanny ability to combine multiple strong flavors in perfect balance. Anyone who has not experienced similarly strongly flavored fare might not "get it", but I have never experienced a heavy hand when it comes to the seasoning of the dishes coming out of the kitchen.
Amuse 1: Seafood salad on a wonton chip with a bit of yuzu sauce. Quite tasty, even if it did have minced red bell pepper in it (my least favorite vegetable on the planet, regardless of color).
Amuse 2: White cheddar Anson Mill grits with sauteed wild mushrooms in a mustard cream sauce. OH YEAH! A perfect example of Chef's deft hand when it comes to pairing strong flavors... sharp cheese and tangy mustard? Oh my yes!
Hugo's BBQ Shrimp with Maytag Bleu Cheese Slaw - the standard starting dish for as long as I have been dining there. Totally excellent as always. The shrimp were large and plump and perfectly prepared. The BBQ is zesty and pairs perfectly with both the crustaceans and the creamy slaw. The blue cheese adds a nice bit of bite while remaining balanced with the strong flavor of the BBQ sauce.With Sonny Bryan's BBQ opening soon in Utah I will be able to use their sauce (my fave all-time) in an attempt to recreate this dish at home.
Wild Mushroom Crepes with a Crawfish Mustard Sauce and Andouille Bread Crumbs - from the nightly special menu, this was another winner. The crepes were light and delicate, the melange of mushrooms was wonderfully earthy, the sauce added brightness with the crawfish adding a nice flavor and texture dimension, and the bread crumbs added a different textural contrast along with little spikes of heat. I could have easily downed another order.
Parmesan Souffle with Fava Beans, Morels and Truffles - the souffle has been on the menu for as long as I can remember, undergoing a variety of treatments over the years, and this was one of the better ones best I can remember.
For dessert we split the Lemon Icebox Pie and Raspberry Coulis with Homemade Lime Sherbet and Shortbread Cookie - My companion is both a baker and a major-league sweet tooth, and this had her swooning. Simply a great rendition of a classic American dessert.
While it is obviously impossible for any single restaurant to please everyone, I find the naysaying to be questionable, That being said, I'm thankful that some people come away dissatisfied. If everyone loved Rosemary's as much as I do it would be that much harder to get a reservation. Until I eat everything on every menu I am more than content to spend all my fine dining dollars with Chefs Michael and Wendy.
8125 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89117
Nice review Groovin.
I agree with you about "the naysaying" being "questionable". Rosemary's by no means deserves the amount of negativity bestowed upon it. I guess I see it as the whole "for every action...." type situation. When the left wing screams something, it's pretty much a given that the right wing will scream something to the contrary (or vice versa). Rosemary's has developed a "cult-like" following which at times borders on fanaticism. I do not believe that Rosemary's would experience so much "naysaying" if not for the incontrovertible and extremely vocal allegiance often displayed towards it.
I've dined at Rosemary's twice now and enjoyed both meals very much. Was it on the level of Sage, Guy Savoy or CUT? Well no, but that's merely my opinion. I came out of Rosemary's with a few more dollars in my pocket which obviously is always good. I guess I have trouble with Rosemary's being recommended to Vegas naive visitors coming with star chefs in their eyes. Is it right to recommend to these visitors to rent cars, take buses, taxis, etc in order to get to to the west side to Rosemarys? With the choices on the Strip (many now similarly priced to Rosemary's) are we detracting from the credibility and usefulness of this board's advice by recommending Rosemary's as a first line choice for new visitors?
I think you make a good point. I'm obviously a fan, and as I want to make sure they stay in business, I will always suggest a visit. However, unless one has their own wheels (as I always do) the schlep out west has to be taken into consideration. The taxi fare would certainly make for the argument to stay on Strip. For a true foodie, though, the bus represents a viable option... it is, after all, about the food, not how we get to and from the restaurant.
I've not eaten at the other places you've mentioned... the price points at Rosemary's meanI can get a couple of visits in there, and with a brand new menu in place there are that many more dishes I want to try... the new risotto looks amazing.
One of the keys for me is the overall quality level. All one has to do is peruse amongst the many reviews of the "name" places on the Strip and read of way too many dishes that were "just OK". For the kind of bucks we're talking about I find that totally unacceptable. After countless dishes at Rosemary's there is still only one that did not totally wow... their rendition of Shrimp Remoulade. And it was still pretty good... just not up to the level of other preps of that dish I've enjoyed around the country.
One of these days I hope to be flush enough to enjoy some of the higher-end places... would love to do Savoy and Robuchon and Fleur (have done small plates in their groovy bar and thoroughly enjoyed it). But until that time comes I am more than happy to keep returning to Rosemary's as they are still one of my 5 favorite places anywhere in the country.