The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2019 Fall Dining Guide.
Let everybody else serve fried green tomatoes. Rose’s Luxury uses a Japanese mandoline to make ribbons of the fruit — some raw, some pickled — then shapes them into an alluring “panzanella” with the support of croutons, anchovies and torn basil. Oysters on the half shell are as easy to find as robes at the Supreme Court. But when’s the last time you knocked back a brand called Happy (from Sapidus Farms in Virginia) and had them with a bracing granita fueled with Fresno peppers?
Chef-owner Aaron Silverman and crew continue to come up with new tricks at his first and most famous restaurant on Capitol Hill. Monkey bread is upgraded with cheese and pepper: “cacio e pepe,” after the Italian pasta. The actual noodles in this two-story fun house are wonderful, too. Here’s hoping you get to twirl strozzapreti with a winning trio of ’nduja, honey and pecorino.
Over summer, Silverman quietly launched a catering company, Roses at Home, that mines the menus of his restaurants, including the wine bar Little Pearl and the high-end Pineapple and Pearls. Already I’m plotting to have litchis, pork sausage, habanero and peanuts in the comfort of my own nest.
Rose’s Luxury: 717 Eighth St. SE. 202-580-8889. rosesluxury.com .
Open: Dinner Monday through Saturday.
Price: Small plates $13-$15, pastas $18, family style $36.
Sound check: 80 decibels / Must speak with raised voice.
The following review originally appeared in The Washington Post’s 2018 Fall Dining Guide.
There’s a way to taste luxury without waiting in line
See the pigs flying? Rose’s Luxury started accepting reservations in September, albeit same-day and only after everyone who has waited in the legendary line has been greeted and seated. But still! Even a little edge is better than none at this, the first of three very special dining rooms from one of the region’s top talents, Aaron Silverman. The short menu is long on surprises. Hmmm gives way to ahhhh when a scoop of dreamy coconut ice cream topped with shimmering caviar appears, ebony and ivory in perfect harmony. Other dishes are simply upgrades on the familiar. Sliced shrimp and celery ribbons on a slab of house-made brioche ramped up with Fresno chile jam make a fanciful shrimp toast. More relatable still, but just as luscious, are the pastas and the specials, one night whole grilled dorade dappled with bright snow pea gremolata. (The fish picks up subtle sweetness from its brine of litchi juice and coconut water.) The rear dining room, strung with lights and green with plants, feels like an alfresco party; a seat at the kitchen counter is a jam session featuring chef de cuisine Seth Wells. Rock on, kids.
The following review appeared in The Washington Post’s 2017 Spring Dining Guide.
No longer in a league of its own, Rose’s Luxury is still a star
Is one of the city’s best-known no-reservations restaurants resting on its considerable laurels? Reports from a few friends and strangers about “meh” (their word) cooking at Rose’s Luxury sent me back to the Barracks Row destination to investigate. I was pleased to be greeted as an old friend and dismayed at the salty notes in a berry-colored cocktail of amaro, cognac and lambrusco. The drink was quickly replaced by a better one, involving gin, lavender and lemon. “I’m glad we could correct that,” said a server, one of many solicitous attendants to watch over us throughout dinner. I glanced up from my one-bite foie gras tart, crunchy with hazelnut and dusted with grated white chocolate — unusual pairings are a hallmark here — to see a good sign: chef-owner Aaron Silverman working as hard as anyone in his exhibition kitchen. What followed was mostly very appealing: a lemony salad of sprouts, fried baby kale and bright pomegranate seeds on a smear of yogurt; a yellow raviolo that broke open to a rush of egg yolk; and Little Italy, in the form of a rib-sticking family-style meal composed of eggplant Parmesan, garlic knots and a crisp green salad. “The crunch in the eggplant is from potato chips,” a waiter said. It might be time to retire the pork with litchis; once racy and novel, the signature seems less nuanced than before. But I welcome the sesame brittle that sweetens check-paying time. In all, Rose’s Luxury remains a draw and retains a glow, even if my heart no longer skips a beat when its name is mentioned.
The following review appeared in The Washington Post’s 2016 Fall Dining Guide.
Rose’s Luxury: Still pretty ‘awesome’ after three years
Three years after it made a titanic splash on Capitol Hill, this sunny, albeit no-reservations restaurant continues to cast a spell on its customers. Part of the charm flows from servers who act like your BFFs. More seductive is the sly cooking, from chef-owner Aaron Silverman, the guy who made us fall head over heels with litchis, pork sausage and fire in the same bowl. These days, blue catfish hides under a thin roof of fried bread, a light perch for a rousing green tomato relish. Bucatini with a summery tomato sauce and a dusting of Parmesan is the little black dress of pastas, at once simple and elegant. And to forgo the Greek chicken, one of two family-style platters, is to miss a party crowded with house-made pita, tangy pickles and plump sausages. So you can imagine my chagrin when the dream is interrupted; a dip into a crock of chicken liver pâté returns a spread that’s too sweet. The emperor has plenty of clothes, but he also has more competitors than before. And not all of them make us wait in line. (Rant over. I’ll be back. Like the neon sign here glows, Rose’s remains pretty “awesome.”)
The following review appeared in The Washington Post’s 2015 Fall Dining Guide.
Stop right here if you hate reading valentines, because Rose’s Luxury is awesome, just as its white neon light inside says it is, and I no longer care (much) if I have to stand in line to experience it because the restaurant doesn’t take reservations. Chef-owner Aaron Silverman and staff do so much so well, and with better pacing than before, any qualms I may have had disappear with the waiter’s welcome (“Is there any way I can harm you by feeding you?”) and the sight of a rock shrimp seviche scattered with fried plantain crumbs that blows everyone else’s out of the water.
This is food that makes you think: Does strawberry sauce belong on pasta? Can ground pork, sweet litchis, peanuts and habaneros find happiness on the tongue? Yes and yes! Unlike last year, there’s not a dish I tried during a recent exploration that I wouldn’t be tickled to try again. Slices of blushing hanger steak fly you to Japan and back with eel sauce and fried pickles. The kitchen high-fives vegetarians, although chilled vadouvan curry poured over charred bananas, crisp macadamia nuts and melon balls is likely to find the carnivore’s spoon returning to the bowl, too.
Soloists might ask for a stool facing the open kitchen; dates and groups should aim for the rear, where hanging greens and strings of light place you in an indoor garden. At Rose’s, the drinks rock, the music sounds as if your coolest friend put together the playlist, and tarte tatin relies on eggplant instead of the customary apple.
Rose’s dares you to eat differently, and rewards you in the process.