On Monday, drills were still whirring at Rose's Luxury, chef and owner Aaron Silverman's eclectic American restaurant on Barracks Row. A steady stream of deliveries and contractors poured in, and a handsome, hip-looking staff camped out at the tables for training in the nuances of the menu. Wood and furniture and boxes were stacked up in nearly every corner.
Silverman, a Wootton High School grad whose resume is burnished by stints at New York's Momofuku Noodle Bar and modernist Portuguese outpost Aldea, as well as Virginia's own 2941, will have a few miracles to perform in the coming days. On Oct. 2, a mere week from today, Rose's Luxury will open at 717 8th St. SE, welcoming diners into a raw, beachy 54-seat space decorated as an antiques shop.
What is "eclectic American"? It's not a cooking style you can quite pin down: The menu, composed of smaller dishes ranging from $11 to $13, and family-style large portions between $24 and $27, features a Portuguese-inspired pork and lychee salad, Vietnamese pate like that which might grace a banh mi sandwich, an aerated soup that tastes remarkably like popcorn. It's adventurous, globe-hopping. "We're trying to do anything that's awesome," Silverman says. "There really aren't any rules. What is American? American is a mix of everything." Vegetarians should flock here: The menu clearly marks meat-free dishes. (Trust me: I've tried several during one of Rose's many pop-ups, and they're delicious.)
As for the design of the restaurant: "I let the space dictate what it was going to be," says Silverman, who hired an architect, but not a design firm to transform Rose's. "I had a vision for each room based on the building." White, Silverman's favorite color (or lack thereof), is splashed liberally across the restaurant, while touches of seafoam green create even more of a vintage feel. In some rooms, Silverman left walls rough and unpainted, like something you'd see in a bombed out old building. In others, he hung luxe chandeliers. The dishes, too, have a hand-picked feel -- a peek into the kitchen reveals everything from little copper serving dishes to gold-rimmed China to pristine white bowls. The gleaming chrome kitchen is open, with eight creamy deco stools in front, with a prime view of the action. It's a beautiful effect, and will remind some of Frederick de Pue's Table in Shaw. In the back is the indoor "courtyard," where greenery hangs and pansies bloom in a bathtub garden. Upstairs, find a 10-seat bar with a counter of eye-popping green onyx, and a roof deck, which will seat about eight, that will have diners mingling next to the restaurant's herb and flower garden.
Check out a handful of photos inside Rose's. (Note: The space was still very much under construction during our visit.) Then take a look at the menu, below. For details, visit the restaurant's Web site here.