How did I score a table at Rose’s Luxury, DC’s hottest restaurant? First I tried their online reservations, available online only at 11 a.m. on Monday, three weeks in advance for parties of six or eight. At 10:50 a.m, poised like a leopard ready to pounce, I waited. But as soon as the “reserve” button went active, it morphed into “booked.” I never even had a chance to click.
That left me with only one choice: leveraging my upcoming birthday. My daughter graciously pledged to stand in line, arriving at 2:40 pm on a drizzly January Saturday to wait for Rose’s to open their doors at 5 p.m. My daughter nabbed the number two spot.
A professional line sitter was first. Yes, that’s a business, especially in D.C. where lobbyists and businesspeople pay surrogates to get seats at Congressional hearings and Supreme Court cases. Agencies charge $30- $35 per hour with a two-hour minimum.
Chef Aaron Silverman opened Rose’s Luxury on Capitol Hill in October 2013 and by August 2014, Bon Appétit rated Rose’s Luxury as the top new US restaurant in 2014.
When the rest of us arrived at 3:45 p.m. to relieve Alissa, she was freezing, and the line stretched some 45 people long. The place seats 70. By 4:30 p.m., the entire party must be present for a head count by the maître d. Shortly after 5 p.m. we made it into the restaurant, seated at one of the few six-person tables. Groups must get in line early.
Unlike many top restaurants, there was no condescension. The staff welcomed us, asked about any food allergies and wrote on the menu what we could and could not eat. With exposed brick walls, an open kitchen with counter seating and white painted wood cabinets, Rose’s exudes a country farmhouse feel. Be prepared to shout at your tablemates: Rose’s is noisy.
Chef Silverman’s forte is mixing unlikely ingredients to create amazing tastes. The more interesting combinations appeared in the 11 small plates. The crispy pig’s ear salad with mango and spicy cabbage proved a hit with my daughter. The confit goat with BBQ Sea Island red peas, rice, and garlic breadcrumbs—the best goat my son and his girlfriend ever sampled. The grilled quail with Brussel sprouts, Caesar dressing and apples was rated highly by my son-in-law. The kitchen cooked the chitarra (a type of pasta) with caramelized cauliflower and white wine soffritto without the cheese to accommodate my allergies. It was delicious. Who knew cauliflower could be so good?
Rose’s offers only two entrees, each large enough for two people. We liked the Peruvian-style chicken served with three sauces, but not the smoked brisket which had a briny, sour taste. Possibly, we’re biased by our grandmother’s slightly sweet brisket.
Is Rose’s Luxury worth the wait? Our table came back with a mixed decision: two would certainly line up again. Three—those disappointed by the brisket—wouldn’t. I might, but only if the weather were warm and I had my posse to help.
Thinking about Valentine’s Day? Bundle up to be there at 1:00 p.m. That’s when the love fest started last year.
Have you ever tried to get a table at an exceedingly popular eatery? What tips got you in the door? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.