Rye Challah – Carraway Butter, Honey
This Afternoon’s Ricotta – Grilled Bread, Olive Oil, Turkish Figs in Vincotto
Lychee Salad – Pork Sausage, Habanero, Peanuts, Onions, Cream
Farro Reginetti – Garlic, Mustard Greens, Chili Flake
Spaghetti alla Carbonara – Green Onion, Sage
Japanese Fried Chicken – Eel Sauce, Kewpie Mayo, Bonito Flake, Napa Cabbage, Sesame Potato Salad, Soy Egg
Cinnamon Ice Cream – Cinnamon Toast Crumble (with Presidential Spoons)
Coconut Milk Ice Cream – Burnt Coconut, Lime, Kiwi
Eggplant 2.0 – Milk Ice Cream, Pine Nuts, Honey, Puff Pastry
Vietnamese Coffee Crème Brulee
It was less than 16 hours after departing a lackluster dinner at Pineapple & Pearls that the GPS once again led the car to 8th Street Southeast, a three o’clock arrival at Aaron Silverman’s critically acclaimed Rose’s Luxury finding the queue already eight deep for a 5:00pm opening, two beach chairs quickly unpacked and set up with the line growing incrementally thereafter to a total of nearly fifty before a man came out and began jotting down names and preferences for dining now or later that evening.
Originally launched in late 2013, Siverman’s non-traditional path to the kitchen now a well-known story of perseverance paid off with almost unprecedented success, Rose’s Luxury has been called by critics and fans one of America’s most endearing modern Restaurants, the egalitarian approach to seating a gripe for some but equally applicable to the Chef’s parents as anyone else while the interior is fashioned not unlike a person’s home might be, though the menu is anything but typical.
Described as “New American” in terms of the cuisine, a bevy of mentors including Sean Brock, Marco Canora and other iconic New York Chefs guiding Silverman to his current role as an industry leader overseeing a youthful team of Chefs at next-door locations, it is shortly after entering Rose’s Luxury that diners instantly feel any tension created from the wait melt away, the servers with no particular dress code chatting folks up and encouraging them to get comfortable before presenting a well-culled menu of Food and Drink that changes almost daily.
A much larger space than it appears, the front and back dining rooms divided by an open kitchen with several bar seats where guests can witness the action plus an upstairs dining room for which reservations are available for parties of 6-8, it is while decisions are still being hashed out that a loaf of daily Bread is delivered, this evening’s Rye Challah a beautiful braid with warm eggy notes prominent even after a slathering of Honey-drizzled Caraway Seed Butter.
Composing the menu of Small Plates, Pastas, Desserts and Family Style platters, a total of just fifteen to sixteen dishes offered daily, it was with difficult cuts made that the meal started out with two small plates that have been present since day one, “This Afternoon’s Ricotta” featuring soft Cheese drizzled in Olive Oil and intended to be spread on grilled Bread with Figs, everything about the dish simply satisfying as was the signature Lychee Salad Thai-style Pork Sausage with Peppers mellowed by Peanuts and Cream.
Not the sort of place to shy away from big flavors, yet not overcomplicating things and thus losing track of its primary ingredient like Pineapple & Pearls, it was after a brief delay with the dining room now full and mid-volume music playing overhead that two plates of Pasta arrived next, the hand-cut Spaghetti soaking in quite a bit of thick sauce beneath Green Onions and Sage plus grated Cheese while the springy Reginetti balanced bitter Greens with plenty of roasted Garlic and a touch of heat.
Unfortunately not offering the family-style Brisket on this particular Friday, but certainly not short-changing guests with either the whole Dorade or Japanese Fried Chicken, it was in the latter that $34 was invested, the plate delivered perhaps one of the best ‘fine dining’ deals on Chicken one will ever find in a major city with a whole Bird or more double-fried crisp atop a bed of shredded Cabbage and topped with plenty of Kewpie Mayo, wriggling Bonito and housemade Eel Sauce.
Rounding out dinner with 3/4 of the Dessert Menu, an additional ‘test plate’ of Cinnamon Ice Cream topped in lightly burnt Bread added gratis and to be eaten with antique spoons featuring former Presidents, it would be difficult to decide which of Silverman’s creations was the ‘best,’ the bitter-sweet Crème Brulee certainly the most straight forward while the Coconut Milk Ice Cream was smooth and balanced, though in terms of creativity none were on par with “Eggplant 2.0,” an inverted Tart Tatin with the Vegetable caramelized and not dissimilar to Baklava in terms of taste and texture.