Sunday, August 5, 2007

Restaurant Review: Rosie's BBQ & Grillery

Despite the setting—Valencia Town Center at 7pm on a Friday night—Rosie’s BBQ and Grillery[1] was only about 2/3 full. The tween crowd was focused on the BJ's/Theater region, and the 40-somethings were pretending to appreciate outdoor jazz down the road. My friend and I, then, were happy to be seated immediately and begin our appraisal of the relatively new restaurant.

Layout and Décor: Upon entering, you’ll notice the large bar to your left with plenty of small tables. In the main dining area booths are abundant, and the designer has spaced them to give just the right amount of privacy. That is, I could easily zone out the party next to me amongst the background noise, but it wouldn’t be impossibly hard to eavesdrop on them were they talking about something more interesting than being blessed—sorry, “so blessed”--in seemingly all aspects of their lives.

The tables outdoors, though few, are couched in a very nice space with a fireplace, potted plants, and view of passersby.

When it comes to creating ambience, Rosie is not a subtle gal. She likes her wood stained dark and varnished. Booths are adorned with western motifs writ large in iron, walls with saddles and lanterns where we’d expect to find sconces and flowers in more demure eateries.

Potables: Drink prices are pretty standard. For example, it's $8 for a Pomegranate Martini, one of many -tini variations offered, and $10 for a top-shelf Cadillac Margarita. The wine list isn’t extensive with a handful each of Cabs and Chards, but I didn't see anyone going thirsty.

Soft drinks are served in frosty Ball Jars—I always read it “Bell”, looking for a miniature Esther Greenwood inside—as one of many reminders that Rosie’s is indeed Rattler’s-based.

Edibles: The menu aims to please many. While most items are grill-centric and of animal origin, there are plenty of salads and even smaller portions for what Rosie’s calls “Seasoned Wranglers”. It would be nice, though, if the restaurant offered a few non-fried starters. Out of eight options, only the Spinach Artichoke Dip isn’t prepared via immersion in boiling oil[2].

We tried eight items with the following reactions:

-*Rosie’s Famous Shreddies: crispy, sweet, none-too-greasy onions
-Dinner Rolls: our basket had rolls that were coarse and dry, something like what Russian peasants once ate
-BBQ Sauce: one-dimensional (that dimension being sweet)
-*Tri-tip: excellent; wonderfully tender, cooked exactly as ordered (medium), good crust
-BBQ Chicken Breast: tough, a characteristic cooks tried to conceal beneath an ample coat of house BBQ sauce
-Vegetables: broccoli and cauliflower waterlogged, carrots mealy; all cooked using a minimalist approach of steam only; oh what a little salt or a quick run through a sauté pan could have done
-Mashed Potatoes: comforting in their bland familiarity

Overall, Rosie’s seems to have the meat and potatoes down and would do well to give a little more attention to some of its menu’s supporting players. We give it a 3 out of 5.

[1]Their website can be found here. Note that you can also have food delivered or catered. In the name of accuracy, the "and" should be an ampersand, but that character is verboten by Blogger.
[2] The so-called "Grillman's Platter" has fried onions, fried potatoes, and fried chicken. To be fair, I agree that "Grillman's" does sound more appealing than "Deep Fryerman's".


mike devlin said...

nice review... you should join and submit it. It's a great resource for spots all over LA (and elsewhere) and it already has a substantial SCV presence. For example, Rosie's already has five reviews.

Anonymous said...

I am so hungry.

Anonymous said...

who is esther greenwood? ur mom? lolz

A Santa Claritan said...

This comment is a bit late in coming, Mike, but thanks for the heads-up on Yelp. I noticed that you're crying out for some authentic BBQery--good luck.

Seeing all the reviews for Pizzeria Mozza there reminded me that we can still hold out hope for restaurants able to churn out thoughtful, well-made plates of food for under $20 a plate (I got a share of an artichoke and an excellent Gorgonzola Dolce pizza for under that at P.M.). In SCV, of course, I think we'll always value portion size over quality, and part of <3ing SCV is accpeting that fact.