An oasis of fine food far from the mirages of the Las Vegas Strip, Rosemary’s Restaurant offers upscale dining amongst a relaxed atmosphere. It’s full service lounge and bar offers small plates, a gourmet nod to tapas. The art-adorned walls, superb service and southern sensibilities invite both the ladies who lunch and those looking for an elegant evening out. Whether dining a la carte or prix-fixe, the food is superb, and the extensive wine list and unique beer pairings complement the meal perfectly. Locals and tourists alike will revel in discovering this gem.Read More ...
Las Vegas has more than its fair share of high-end restaurants. Adorned with the names of the world’s top chefs, most lay in the opulent hotels that line the world-renowned Las Vegas Strip. But if you are willing to leave the neon lights and travel west on Sahara for a few miles, you’ll discover the unpretentious but decidedly upscale and delicious Rosemary’s Restaurant.
Hiding in an unassuming strip mall on West Sahara and Cimarron, along with a discount department store and a chain, family restaurant, Rosemary’s doesn’t seem like the place for a gourmet paradise. But Chefs Michael and Wendy Jordan make Rosemary’s feel both high-end and homey at the same time. While it’s not flip-flops-and-shorts casual, the welcoming place isn’t tuxedo-formal either. This cozy restaurant features a full service bar and lounge area. The walls are adorned with the vibrant artwork of several artists making it a gallery for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
What separates the good restaurants from the great restaurants is all in the details. You’ll notice the attention to detail at Rosemary’s immediately. The person seating you will inquire if you are wearing black or navy so that the appropriate napkin can be fetched. No lint from a white napkin on your dark lap. This is a detail that most of the finest restaurants never address.
Evidently, Chefs Michael and Wendy Jordan come to Las Vegas via New Orleans, and the Big Easy’s loss is the Entertainment Capital’s gain. Their southern hospitality shows in the service as well at the food. A delightful bread basket invites you to partake while you peruse the menu. While all items are available a la carte, you can combine three courses of your own choosing for a special prix-fixe price. Since many prix-fixe menus are chosen by the chef, it’s a treat to create your own out of Rosemary’s list of epicurean choices.
Amongst the appetizers is one of the signature dishes at Rosemary’s: Hugo’s Texas BBQ Shrimp. Don’t miss this flavor combination of plump and succulent shrimp bathed in a sweet and tangy sauce atop a pile of blue cheese slaw. The creamy, buttery Maytag blue cheese pairs well with the piquant and peppery shrimp. You could also choose from selections like the rarely seen Pan Fried Milk Fed Veal Sweetbreads with a lemon caper buerre blanc or a Twice Baked Parmesan Soufflé.
The salads are equally varied and inventive. The Wilted Spinach salad is perfectly wilted, not overcooked or mushy but touched with just enough heat to make the leaves tender and easy to eat. The spinach is crowned with a goat cheese cake to provide creaminess and spiced pecans to add sweetness and crunch. Combined with the tart sherry-mustard dressing, this spinach salad perfectly walks the balance beam of flavor and texture, making this a giant notch above most oily, bacon-drenched spinach salads. Of course, for purists Rosemary’s offers the “Caesar for Mark,” a Caesar salad with parmesan croutons, but a more adventurous route is the Smoked Duck Breast Salad featuring pistachios and Roquefort cheese.
Meat lovers will rejoice at a menu that features pork chops, brick chicken, veal tenderloin, and two kinds of beef steak. The king of this mountain of meat is the Roasted Rack of Lamb. The well-seasoned, tender lamb is served with Kalamata Mashed Potatoes and topped with a handful of fried arugula. The accompanying Rosemary Bordelaise Sauce is more of the Creole style than the classic French sauce, but its earthy herbiness sets off the lamb much better than a cloying mint sauce. The potatoes are an interesting combination, the creamy potatoes flecked with salty slices of Kalamata olive. The peppery fried arugula may not be for everyone but it does create a unique combination of textures.
While vegetarians may be limited in their choices, with only one meatless entrée in evidence (Parmesan Tossed Angel Hair Pasta), fish lovers are not so limited. The menu boasts tuna, halibut, bass, and salmon, a plethora of choices rarely found in the middle of the desert unless at a specialty seafood restaurant. The Apple Bacon Crusted Salmon is an unusual combination and while some believe that bacon is too overpowering to go with salmon, there is no denying that the fish is perfectly cooked. It takes a deft hand to cook fish well, and the salmon is flaky but still moist and tender. The sweet corn coulis served alongside makes an excellent contrast to the smoky salty flavor of the bacon. Another option, the Halibut Lindquist with a buttermilk onion crust, beckons its invitation for a second visit.
The service throughout the meal is superb. For each course, the entire table will be served at the same time, the plates settled in front of each patron in unison. While it may not seem like a big deal, it’s a joy to watch the servers choreograph the service like a well-timed synchronized swim team, and lovely to have all of the food on the table at one time. Someone crumbs your table after each course and if you excuse yourself from the table a server will be there upon your return to place your napkin back in your lap. The extensive wine list is an oenophiles dream, while the menu’s recommended wine pairings are great for the novice wine drinker. And the menu not only lists a recommended wine pairing for each dish but a beer pairing as well. Beer pairings are a relatively new idea but the beer list offers helpful and informative descriptions and the pairing list lets you try a new combination that you might not have thought of—a Lambic with foie gras, perhaps, or a brown ale with veal tenderloin. While many gourmands may sneer at a beer, in the desert’s hot climate beer makes a perfect choice with many dishes, especially when a red wine may seem too heavy in one-hundred-plus degree heat.
The Jordans’ southern ties are reflected in the menu with sides like Hoppin’ John, Hushpuppies, and White Cheddar Grits. The dessert menu also has a southern tinge with Coconut Bread Pudding and Carrot Cake. But the elegance and simplicity of the south are best represented in the Lemon Ice Box Pie. Its cool sweetness and sourness will tease your tongue and flood you with memories of a 1950’s kitchen, grandma in her apron pulling her pie straight from the Frigidaire, even if you weren’t born for thirty more years. It wouldn’t be a gourmet restaurant without the ubiquitous flourless chocolate cake and Crème Brule and Rosemary’s is no exception, although here the chocolate cake comes with a Scotch caramel sauce. Another tempting option is the Goat Cheese Cheesecake, served with blackberry coulis. And once you are stuffed to the gills and in the pleasant coma of good food, they will present you with a lagniappe of sweet confections. A lagniappe is an old south custom, a small gift from your host. You will be too full to eat them but you should indulge anyway. The peanut butter ball is delicious and well worth the calories.
The staff of Rosemary’s will make you feel as if you have dined in the greatest four-star establishment. But they also remember their friends and neighbors with the lovely prix-fixe option and ongoing specials available on their website like a prix-fixe lunch and Ladies Night. So if you want gourmet food and service without pretension or artifice, visit Rosemary’s. You’ll be in the same stratosphere as the high-end Strip resorts, yet miles away from their plastic neon façade.
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