This year, the Husband and I have decided not to exchange gifts and to plan date nights to celebrate the holidays (we are big of fans of creating memories over buying things for each other, unless we find something truly special to give). Our goal was to spend less than $100 for the date and Groupon’s we’ve already purchased were available to use and didn’t count against our $100 limit. Last night, we went on my planned date which took us out first to Rosemary’s Restaurant, a little more than a half hour from our place in Henderson (which is quite a distance in this area!). I’d been looking forward to Rosemary’s ever since I got some great recommendations from readers the day the Groupon was for sale and am glad we finally made it up there.
The restaurant is located in a strip mall, thanks to the millions of strip malls in this area. While it has a generally nondescript exterior, the interior of the restaurant was incredibly warm and inviting. I made a reservation using OpenTable for 5:30 (we were on a bit of a timeline to get to our next activity which closed at 9pm and we wanted to eat first to walk off what we imagined would be a heavy meal) which is when they open for dinner.
We arrived a few minutes early and were greeted warmly by the hostesses. They took my coat and invited us to enjoy a drink at the bar until our table was ready (when the waitstaff meeting was over). The Husband poked his head down at the other end of the bar with the taps and I admired the huge selection of vodka options. I can’t recall the last time I saw so many bottles of vodka, many of which I’d never heard of before.
Vodka is my liquor of choice, when I choose to have a cocktail, and Stoli is by far my favorite brand. I prefer Stoli Vanil and Stoli Razberi (the latter being my go-to option) so when I saw Stoli Vanil on the shelf, I didn’t bother to learn what beers and wines were available (which actually is a very large variety!). I ordered a Stoli Vanil with Sprite and it was excellent. Neither was stronger than the other and it had a wonderful vanilla flavor to it. The Husband asked for clarification on which beers were on tap (there were 5 I believe, while they had 3 large pages of beer bottles available – we’ll definitely be back to try others). He went with the Tripel Karmeliet from Bosteels Brewery in Belgium. The Husband described it as being a very true to style Tripel, which ultimately he isn’t a fan of. He felt it was too syrupy/thick and too fruity, but I personally enjoyed it (Belgian beers are some of my favorites). With their wide selection, the Husband looks forward to trying some of their other options in the future when we have friends/colleagues in town.
After a few sips and chattiness, the hostess met us at the bar (with a tray to carry our drinks!) and escorted us to our table. The restaurant is a relatively small restaurant, adding to the coziness, but the tables were not too close together, allowing diners to enjoy the space at their own table. Being one of the first tables of the night, they spaced out the diners quite well and seated later arrivals throughout the restaurant so as to give everyone almost their own private experience (until about 7 or so when the restaurant was nearly full).
When we were first seated, our assistant server Joe introduced himself, offered us a choice of bottled or ice water, and advised that our main server Tony would be over soon with the menus. When Tony introduced himself and provided us with menus, we received a menu with their regular options (which was quite long), a tasting menu option (five course I believe for about $85 per person and up if you wanted a beer or wine pairing), and the nightly special menu (which included specials in the soup, appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert categories). The regular menu included Hot Appetizers/Soups, Cold Appetizers/Salads, Entrees, and sides, all which could be ordered a la carte or through the Prix Fixe menu of $55. The Prix Fixe menu included one entree and either two appetizers or one appetizer and dessert. (There is an additional charge for the most expensive options such as Foie Gras and Bacon-Wrapped Steak). The Husband and I both were interested in the Prix Fixe option and were told we could order from both the regular menu and the Specials menu.
After placing our orders, we got back to sipping our drinks and chatting away on all sorts of topics. We were then brought fresh bread and butter which was served directly onto our bread plates. One roll was a wheat roll while the other I believe was a White Chocolate Walnut (Pecan? We can’t remember which nut it was) roll. While we enjoyed both with some butter, we made sure to save some of each roll to dip in soups and sauces in future courses.
A short bit later, we were surprised with an amuse-bouche, compliments of the chef. It was a bread pudding with asparagus and mushroom topped with a roasted onion reduction sauce. The flavors were outstanding and while the outside was crispy, the inside was soft and creamy. If this was indicative of our future courses, we were in for a treat!
Up next, we were served our first course of hot appetizers. The Husband went with the soup of the day – a Tomato Bisque with Gruyere Toast. To the Husband, this was the best soup ever. It was thick and he felt it had melted gruyere in it. About halfway through our first course, the Husband and I switched plates to share
My first course was the Homemade Tasso Ham & Crawfish Risotto w/Smoked Tomato Jus. It might not look like much in this photo, but it was quite large. It was generously filled with the crawfish and ham. There were fresh green onions on top, normally which I am not a fan of, which melded so well with all of the other flavors. The smoked tomato jus, with the other flavors, were soaked up after the dish was gone, using some of our bread we had saved just for the occasion.
For our second course, the Husband ordered another special of the night – Shrimp Cakes with Bacon and Spaetzle. This course, the Husband liked a bit less. The shrimp was a little bit rubbery and the spaetzle was very eggy in texture. After our dining experiences in Charleston, SC (where the shrimp is pretty much caught next to the restaurant), we sometimes forget how difficult it is to get shrimp that tastes that fresh (and we recognize we live in the desert) so we don’t hold it against the restaurant.
For my second course, I ordered the special salad of the day. It was mixed baby greens with an orange-coriander vinaigrette, golden beets, roasted goat cheese, and pomegranate seeds. This salad was out of this world! I mentioned to the Husband how much I love going to restaurants like Coastal Flats where I love their champagne vinaigrette and roasted goat cheese salad, but this salad kicked that salad’s ass. I was concerned going into this salad that the coriander would be too strong (although the Husband reminds me that I love the coriander in my lighter summer and wheat beers), but it was great. The golden beets were lightly sweet and the roasted goat cheese (the balls around the salad) melted in my mouth. I wish I could eat this salad at every meal of every day.
On to our entrees, the Husband were starting to feel full. We each ordered the Seared Sea Scallops w/Parsnip Potato Puree, Apple Cider Beurre Blanc, Crispy Prosciutto & Parsnip Strip. The Husband and I love sea scallops and these were a great size. The Husband notes that it’s in style to serve them a bit undercooked, which he’s not such a fan of, but I enjoyed that. We were both impressed with the Parsnip Potato Puree (nice and creamy!) and I was dipping everything in the Apple Cider Beurre Blance. We each ended up leaving a scallop on the plate as we just couldn’t put any more food in our stomachs!
We reviewed the dessert menu which looked great, but we knew we couldn’t eat another thing. Or so we thought… shortly before the bill was brought out, we were brought a plate of mignardises. They were peanut butter dough balls, a lemon bar, and a fudgy brownie. They were each so excellent in their own way. I expected I would love the lemon bar the best (I LOVE lemon) but we both agreed that the fudgy brownie was heavenly.
By this point, we were ready to roll ourselves out of the restaurant and we were looking forward to the walking we’d be doing at our date activity for the night (check back tomorrow to see what we did!). Even with our Groupon, the bill ended up being over $100 (didn’t meet my goal for the date, but luckily our activity would be relatively cheap), but the price was more than worth it for this dining experience. As you read above, the food was amazing. The service was right there along with the food – excellent. From the hostess, to the bartender, to both of our servers and the other staff that assisted, we were blown away by this place. We plan to recommend it to everyone we meet and most certainly will be back. We noted that there were a lot of couples there celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and think this is a great place to celebrate any special occasion.
On a final note, we saw this flyer in the bill carry-case and wanted to make our readers aware. Until Thursday, they are collecting canned food and toys to support local charities. In return, diners will receive a free glass of wine or beer. If we had known, we certainly would have brought something along on our holiday date.