Vegas has some great restaurants along the Strip, but the Strip carries a de facto luxury tax. To find the city’s real meal deals, and to get in touch with what the locals eat, get in the car and drive. When my friend Adam read that Rosemary’s requires a $40 cab ride, and after we saw the compelling menu online, this restaurant seemed to have the makings of a great meal.
The restaurant is situated in a strip mall WAY off the strip. According to our waiter, chef Michael Jordan was an Emeril Lagasse protégée at Emeril’s Fish House at the MGM Grand. Jordan left Emeril’s to open a restaurant with his wife Wendy at the Rio, and a year later moved to the current location, where it’s been since 2000.
To honor Michael Jordan’s mother, Rosemary, the couple hung a painting of her as a little girl on the wall behind the restaurant’s hostess stand. The dining room is fairly formal but not stuffy, with paintings of smiling women on yellow walls.
At lunch, Rosemary’s offers an incredible deal: $28 for three courses. Any dish on the menu was fair game, plus daily specials, and these weren’t bite-sized portions. Our appetizers alone could have sustained us until dinner. With an online promo, our bill was reduced to $22 per person, staggering value considering the entrees alone topped out at $18 per person.
Our waiter used tongs to serve us each two rolls: a potato roll brushed with butter and a white chocolate pecan roll drizzled with honey. Both rolls were served warm and set a winning tone for the meal.
Our strategy was to each order something different for each course, then share. I selected Hugo’s Texas BBQ Shrimp with Maytag Blue Cheese Coleslaw, a dish made using a recipe provided by the first amateur World Series of Poker bracelet winner, a Southern friend of poker champion Doyle Brunson. Our waiter was happy to let us know that Doyle drops in every couple weeks. He was a big name dropper, but we were more interested in the food.
The service was effective, but unnecessarily formal. Did I really need my napkin folded three times while I took a short bathroom break? Still, overeager service is a small quibble. Overall, given the low cost of the meal and the across-the-board high quality of the ingredients, Rosemary’s falls within the top tier of possible value.
Before we left, we got a look at the dinner menu, which looked spectacular. Did I mention there’s a $50 prix fixe menu? Prosciutto-wrapped goat cheese-stuffed figs, anyone?