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Tar and Roses

Are there any "must try" items on Tar and Roses latest menu?

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  1. I don't really want to go out on the "must try" limb, but we really thought very highly of these 4 items from our visit on VD weekend (and this is relative to the numerous other dishes we had): oxtail dumplings, crispy pig tails, braised lamb belly and ricotta gnocchi.

    1. The oxtail dumplings, the english peas with sea salt, the strawberry ricotta crostata.

      I also feel like the half chicken might be a must-order. We made the mistake of getting the duck when we were there. The chicken at the next table over looked much better.

      I would also say that the duck necks are worth trying if you don't mind getting messy.

      1. If you have a party of 4 or more you can order the special goat dinner...but you must order 7 days in advance.

        1 Reply
        1. re: wienermobile

          I want to go to that SO badly, but cannot find another 3 people who are as into it as I am =(

        2. Went last night and it was wonderful. We sat on the back patio which was quiet. Service was fantastic and food was delicious. My favorite was the roast chicken and the simple salad with excellent tomatoes and home baked croutons. The chicken was as moist and flavorful as any chicken I remember having. Looking forward to returning

          4 Replies
          1. re: flowergirl

            Jealous. I need to get back and get that chicken. I never should have let my companion talk me into the duck =(

            1. re: flowergirl

              Yes, that chicken is excellent. I remember that dish that my sons ordered, more so than what my husband & I ordered.....

              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                What did you and your husband order? Did the kids refuse to share? haha

                1. re: BacoMan

                  As I said, I have no recollection of what we ordered..... I just recall my youngest ordered the whole fried sardines, I think they were, and they were the whole fish and he was a touch horrified at the thought of eating them whole. The server was extremely gracious, took back the plate at no charge, and they fired up a chicken plate for him, which he inhaled.

            2. Going tonight for first time...any other tips?

              9 Replies
              1. re: jessejames

                Go back in time and pre-order the Goat dinner =P (I just did this on Wednesday, and it was absolutely incredible).

                1. re: BacoMan

                  I'm a guest of a friend so not my style and time travel not a specialty but will keep that in mind

                  1. re: BacoMan

                    Tell me more about the goat dinner…..How was it served? Was it enough for four? What else did it come with? Will you order it again?

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      Minimum 4 person order, but the amount of goat served was easily enough to feed 6+ on its own. Truly ridiculous. We all ate ravenously until we were stuffed beyond good measure and there was still a ton of goat left. From what I could identify, it seemed like there was 2 legs of goat + a whole rack of goat ribs + a huge spine/neck section that I've never eaten before. They have a very lengthy process in preparing it including a hanging process for 24 hours, and brining. It's finished in their wood oven for about 2 hours on the day of the dinner, and the meat literally melts off the bone, while the crispy skin is possibly the most enjoyable skin you will ever consume.

                      The dinner includes a large little gems salad with pancetta, dates, and goat cheese as a starter. And when they bring out the enormous platter of goat they also bring out a plate of their incredible wood-roasted carrots with harissa cream fraiche, as well as a few bowls of cous cous with cilantro, cucumber and pine nuts.

                      There were also a bowl of pickled apricots, and two sauces, a spicy orange harissa, and a kind of banana remoulade.

                      They also served their outstanding strawberry ricotta crostata and tar bar for dessert.

                      It's a real shame they don't have some version of that goat (maybe just goat leg?) on their regular menu. Certainly one of the best things I've eaten; it was simple, succulent, savory, a little sweet, and a little spicy. The dinner hit all of the flavor notes all over the spectrum and was a spectacular dining experience.

                        1. re: BacoMan

                          That sounds incredible. Wasted on the young.

                          1. re: Wayno

                            Is this supposed to be some kind of personal insult to me?...

                          2. re: BacoMan

                            Thanks so much. That's sounds incredible. I just have to find the 3 others I can rope in to come with me soon.

                            1. re: wienermobile

                              It's weird how hard it is. I have been trying to get 4 people together for the past 2 years! And I finally did it! It was as great as I imagined! The wine was also fantastic, but it would have been just as great even without the wine.

                    2. Some of my favorites:

                      Wood roasted english peas
                      Braised lamb belly
                      Squid ink Fettucini with octopus
                      Ricotta Ginocchi


                      22 Replies
                          1. re: jessejames

                            Eh, yeah...I expect pretty much nothing from the service at T&R. The people there are ridiculously stuck up. Which makes little sense for such a laid back area as Santa Monica.

                            But yeah, if you dine based on service, I would generally recommend going elsewhere.

                            Food's pretty good though, eh?

                            They really only have a good wine list for drinking. If you are a beer, or liquor person... yeah, it's rough. I guess these are probably good details I wouldn't have generally thought about including. Sorry if we failed you in recommending the place =/

                            1. re: BacoMan

                              I've had great service at Tar & Roses the 3-4 times I've been. A quote from my review (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/918734) from last year:

                              "One last anecdote about the service: On our first visit, our hostess came by to check on us after noticing we had not really touched our whole roasted chicken. We were a bit wary because part of the bird was slightly pink around the bones. The hostess explained that the chicken was brined before roasting and sometimes it retains a bit of pink even when fully cooked, but she offered to have the dish taken away. We decided to keep the chicken, and it tasted fine. (A quick Googling on our phones seemed to confirm that pinkness is more likely with brined chicken, and a little is okay as long as the meat is completely opaque.) I was very impressed because the restaurant was pretty busy, as it always is, but the hostess, in the midst of seating people, still managed to deduce that we had a potential issue with one of our dishes."

                              1. re: TheOffalo

                                How many times have you dined there?

                                Also, to be fair, I'm pretty young, about 20-30 years below the average age of the average diner at T&R, so that might be why I get pretty mediocre to bad service there.

                                1. re: BacoMan

                                  Your youth (damn you...smile......) is no excuse for poor service. And sometimes the reverse is true....when places want young, "hip" folks in a place. I don't think there is any excuse for bad service....and it certainly shouldn't be based on demographics!

                                  1. re: perk

                                    It's not so much bad service as it is, hmm, cold service I guess. The staff seems incredibly annoyed whenever you ask them questions for example. I really appreciate input from my waiter about what the wine's are like, or about what dishes to order if I am trying to decide between two that seem similar. I've never been able to get much help in those regards at T&R, and the waitstaff seems somewhat annoyed that I would even ask...

                                    I also don't care for their front-of-house. They are extremely pretentious, and make the atmosphere feel awkward. The last time I was there I had a bit of coffee left that I was drinking as we walked in and was told the I had better "immediately chug that, or leave". So I chugged it and thrust the empty cup into the guys face to take away for me.

                                    Place rubs me the wrong way. They're lucky they are the only place in town offering a goat dinner, hah.

                                  2. re: BacoMan

                                    3-4 times, as stated in the first sentence of my previous comment.

                                    Are you a teenager? When I've gone, the average age was probably mid-to-late 30s-40s.

                                    Also, I think you're too young to get "medicare"... ;-)

                                    1. re: TheOffalo

                                      idk how that ended up at mediocre.

                                      I'm not a teenager, but usually the average age looks like 40-50 to me, which is approximately 20-30 years older than me.

                                      I'm also somewhat eccentric, which they seem to look down on in Santa Monica. I don't think I would ever set foot in Santa Monica if it wasn't for the gems of restaurants there. The one exception to this has always been Rustic Canyon.

                                      I am set to go back there soon. I've been kicking myself for not having been back there since Fox took it over. I spent too much time at Bucato, where the service seems to have followed him from Rustic Canyon.

                                      1. re: BacoMan

                                        So you are 23?

                                        Also, I went to Rustic Canyon tonight and it was superb. Fox is a genius.

                                        1. re: set0312

                                          Close enough.

                                          What did you get at RC?

                                          Btw, do they still have that rabbit on their menu, or is it gone?

                                          1. re: BacoMan

                                            The milo & olive baguette. (good as you'd expect it to be.)

                                            beets & berries. Really good dish although not something I'd crave. Perfectly showcases Fox's mastery with vegetarian stuff. Basically a mash-up of dehydrated beets mixed with pistachio, beautiful, luscious beets, some avocado, quinoa, berries, and some beautiful red paste that I'd gather was also beets based but didn't ask.

                                            oxtail gnocci. Top class. Gnocci served on top of an oxtail ragu basically. A simple dish, but refreshingly light. Very balanced flavors--particularly appreciated how the ragu wasn't overwhelmed with salt (take note Bestia)

                                            chicken nduja omelet. Highlight of the meal. To be honest, I was so hungry that I didn't even bother to figure out what was in the damn thing, but it was superb.

                                            Swordfish piccata. Not a disappointment per se, but it just didn't feel as inventive as the other dishes. Felt like something that thirty places in the city could do reasonably well.

                                            (So in summation, well worth my money because I loved two of four dishes, was really impressed with the beets & berries, and still enjoyed the sword. )

                                            This was my first time, so I'm not sure if they have "that rabbit" but they do have a rabbit dish that I was so close to ordering, but I could tell the girlfriend was more intrigued by the gnocchi.

                                            1. re: set0312

                                              The rabbit was "whole rabbit for two". I was really interested in it, but their online menu is weird and seems to have changed so that it isn't on there any more.

                                              Were 4 dishes enough to feed 2 people??

                                              I was imagining smaller plating than that for some reason.

                                              3 out of your 4 are on my short list of must-orders. No chicken giblet gravy fingerlings though eh? =P Those do look great.

                                              1. re: BacoMan

                                                Plates were not that small to be honest. The swordfish was counted as a "large plate" so that helped. But I think if you did five to six small plates you would be very full.

                                                But yes 4 dishes were enough to feed two--but the baguette definitely helped fill me up.

                                                To be honest, I got in there around 9:45 and was too starved to carefully reflect on the menu. Basically, picked the three meat dishes that looked good to me and wanted to try his veggie stuff so did the beets and berries.

                                                Also, your two person rabbit was not on the menu. There was the rabbit leg over polenta that phamschottier mentioned.

                                              2. re: set0312

                                                I went the other night and LOVED that omelet as well. Rabbit has been on the menu a lot lately. It seems like they are playing around with rabbit dishes, as it comes in different forms: rabbit mortadella in a charcuterie board; braised legs over polenta with ramps, cherries, and wild lettuce; different preparations (stuffed, pancetta wrapped, etc.) in a "rabbit for two" dish. I've only had the mortadella, but it was really great.

                                                1. re: phamschottler

                                                  So the rabbit for two is still there? Or is there any way to figure out when it is on the menu?

                                                  1. re: BacoMan

                                                    Sometimes. RC updates their online menu pretty regularly, so check it out when you plan on going:


                                                    And the chef frequently posts pictures on IG/ Twitter of such dishes when they are available (he is @ chef jeremy fox, no spaces).

                                                    Or just call them! (310) 393-7050

                                          2. re: BacoMan

                                            "I'm also somewhat eccentric, which they seem to look down on in Santa Monica."

                                            If Santa Monica can put up with Whitey Bulger (on the eccentric scale he was pretty much off the right side of the bell curve) I'm sure they can handle your oddness...

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              Whitey Bulgar...the mobster?...

                                              I would guess being able to have your server killed often does play some kind of role in getting you top notch service.

                                    2. re: BacoMan

                                      Not stuck up just kept taking away plates when we were half done or trying to. Each course. It was annoying.

                                      I enjoyed the sweetbreads as I suspect U would too Offalo the most. Crispy and dusted with hazelnuts.

                                      Those desserts did kick ass too. We had most of them.

                                      Thanks for the tips. We also enjoyed the peas and the gnocchi.

                                      1. re: jessejames

                                        "Those desserts did kick ass too. We had most of them."

                                        Specifically in regards to the strawberry ricotta crostata, this cannot be echoed enough. That thing is the epitome of perfection in simplicity in terms of dessert. It feels like it could end major geopolitical conflicts... well, perhaps at least it could end some minor romantic conflicts at least =P

                                        1. re: BacoMan

                                          Yes. Delish. I liked the sticky toffee pudding best. Reminded me of the UK.

                                2. Decided last sec to trek out from OC for anniversary dinner tonight. Called yesterday and nada, Open Table had 10:00 or later. Called just now and score! 8 PM.

                                  I loove charcuterie but recently had it at Chi Spacca, worth it here? Also really intrigued by the whole fried fish, but seeing I'm used to the asian prep at the chinese seafood places, am I missing out or would balk at the price if I got it here? The bf would likely get something else if I ordered the fish anyway. Definitely eyeing the strawberry crostata and love a good sticky toffee pudding (hello Playground), so hopefully room for both.

                                  Anything else?

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: groover808

                                    I was underwhelmed and no liquor. good charcuerie but nothing new or unique that I tried. still nice cheeses and salami. but those desserts kicked ass. very much so.

                                    1. re: jessejames

                                      What part was underwhelming? You said "great food" above... ;-)

                                      1. re: TheOffalo

                                        Just not new and exciting. Was good. No full bar is deflating for a weekend night out for me. I liked the cheese and salami and crostini. Peas ok but greasy. Desserts awesome. Main dishes around the table incl roast chicken and steak mediocre. Sweet breads great. I guess I had higher expectations and more time to think about it I'm not craving a return. For me not worth the schlep from weho. My opinion there are lots of spots as good or better at this genre of food as tar and roses. Service very rushed and somewhat pretentious too.

                                        1. re: jessejames

                                          Not a big drinker so the lack of full bar is not an issue for me, but I can totally see how it would be for others. I know I'm in the minority there.

                                          I didn't love the chicken or the softshell crab, but pig tails, balsamic ribs, lamb belly, peas (not too greasy when I've had it) were all great (to me).

                                          1. re: TheOffalo

                                            don't get me wrong, this is quality food for the most part, just didn't really do it for me at that price point where there are other options that really excite me...for salami et al, I'm happy with a swiss army knife, a salami, cheese, bread and a drink at home...I certainly wouldn't say no if I were invited back (as I was a guest of friends when I went)...in the end, one less night at shunji!

                                    2. re: groover808

                                      Their menu changes all the time, and what's on their site, even if dated recently may not be accurate. The crowd favorite English peas is not listed on the copy on their site (http://tarandroses.com/wp-content/upl...) dated end of May, but they may have it.

                                      Their salumi is good, but I actually haven't explored it much. Usually when we get a selection we end up getting more of their bruschetta.

                                      I linked to my review from last year further upthread. Pig tails are back on the menu, again if the online menu is accurate.

                                      I haven't had a chance to try the whole fish but I've heard it's good. You said your bf'd get something else if you got the fish, so does that mean you'll be eating it by yourself?

                                      1. re: TheOffalo

                                        Probably then packing up tons of leftovers. He'd likely get the raved about chicken since he's crazy for a good roasted bird. I'm leaning towards gnocchi + another small plate for my entree.

                                        Oh the English peas is on the menu you linked, right? In the snack section?

                                        1. re: groover808

                                          Ooops, my bad on the English peas. I think it used to be listed under Veggies, I skipped over it in the Snacks.

                                          I'm not big on chicken (except fried chicken), when my wife got it I tried a bite, it was moist and will made, but it was still just rotisserie chicken (to me).

                                    3. Report back from last night:

                                      Pick 3 crostini, charcuterie, cheese: Duck rillette, La Quercia Berkshire lonza, and Detroit St brick cheese. Rillette more along the lines of shredded duck confit on a sweet marmalade, tasty. Another on point offering from La Quercia, sliced perfectly. And the cheese was exactly what I was looking for, soft and a little funky.

                                      Pig tails: I debated on this, but pulled the trigger. The sauce is like crack. Very unctuous and fatty, but bits of crispy with some meat here and there. We dug in with fingers as suggested and they provide some finger wet naps, nice touch.

                                      Gnocchi: Very light, not quite as melting as Craft's, but rich on rich with cream and cheese, a bit much after the pig tails, small plate portion.

                                      Roasted chicken: Offalo was right, just chicken, but the bread salad with in season heirloom tomatoes was fantastic.

                                      Strawberry crostata: MMMMMMM, worth the hype. Sweet, crunchy, ricotta, fruit, and then that honey ice cream! Dreamy......

                                      Sticky toffee pudding: Good, but I was hoping for more toffee texture somewhere in the garnish, but still enjoyable.

                                      4 Replies
                                        1. re: groover808

                                          Thanks for reporting back! Glad you had a good time. First pig tail? If you like them and want to try different prep, Animal has them as buffalo wings and Night+Market has a good one too!

                                          1. re: TheOffalo

                                            Nice, yes first time so will have to try elsewhere. Also online menu is outdated, no more wood roasted english peas at this time.

                                            1. re: groover808

                                              Ah. Their website menu is always outdated. Too bad about the English peas. Probably one of my favorite vege dishes of the past few years.