Rosemary’s Restaurant: Going Off-Strip for Real Vegas Value [CLOSED]

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Painting Las Vegas

The Jordans named Rosemary's Restaurant for Michael's mother.

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.

Shrimp Las Vegas

Hugo’s Texas BBQ Shrimp was an impressive starter, crisp slaw studded with big chunks of pungent blue cheese, topped with four shrimp and drizzled with a tangy barbecue sauce.

Salad Las Vegas

Adam selected the Stacked Salad of Heirloom Tomatoes, which featured a slice each of red, green and yellow tomato, topped with silky folds of smoked salmon, fresh-cut avocado and red onion wisps. The plate was dressed with heirloom cherry tomatoes and ringed with a decorative saffron aioli drizzle. Nice dish.

Beef Las Vegas

For his entrée, Adam selected Soy Marinated Bistro Filet Kabobs. Twin skewers were slightly fatty, but had good flavor. The caramelized shallot reduction sauce was intense, but worked with the beef. The best component of the plate: a fingerling potato, crispy prosciutto and wild oyster mushroom hash.

Duck Las Vegas

I ordered Crispy Leg of Duck Confit on a bed of French Green Lentils. Once again, Rosemary’s exceeded expectations. Not only did I receive a duck leg, but an entire thigh was also attached. Our waiter warned me that the duck would be dry, but also made it clear that was inherent in the preparation. He said the duck is crusted with salt for 24 hours. The salt is then brushed off and the dark meat is then poached in its own fat. The process provided the duck with a tantalizing crisp-skin and meat with a pleasant chew. Drizzled with Brandy Green Peppercorn Sauce, the fowl was pure French comfort food.

Cheesecake Las Vegas

Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Blackberry Coulis was impressive. The creamy, circular cake had a nice crumbled cookie base. The blackberries were a nice sweet-tart counterpoint to the cake. I could have done without the layer of whipped cream on top, and the plume of mint leaves.

Pie Las Vegas

Lemon Ice Box Pie with Raspberry Coulis was too jelly-like for me. Again, I would have scrapped the whipped cream and mint leaves, but the raspberry sorbet was nice and tart.

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?


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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