Bon Appetit names Rose’s Luxury Best New Restaurant in the Country

717 8th Street, SE

Thanks to a reader for sending this awesome accolade about Rose’s Luxury from Bon Appetit magazine:

Later, as I’m finishing my whiskey and paying the bill, I realize why those people were willing to wait two-plus hours for a table in a city whose food culture is otherwise known mostly for power lunches: Rose’s is a game-changer.

There is a lot that sets it apart, starting with the warm, farmhouse-style dining room, kitchen-counter seating, and atrium glowing with string lights. There is the knowledgeable and friendly service. And, of course, the eclectic menu: Southern comfort food threaded with globe-trotting ingredients and ideas from Southeast Asia, Mexico, Italy, and France.

While chef-owner Aaron Silverman is clearly concerned with the food that goes out on his plates, he pays even closer attention to the people eating it. And that’s when it hits me: Rose’s isn’t just in the restaurant business; it’s in the making-people-happy business.

Read the full account ‘To find out what makes a meal here so special, I spent 12 hours trailing Silverman on a weekday in early June. Let’s just say the brilliance of Rose’s isn’t by accident.’

117 Comment

  • justinbc

    “And that’s when it hits me: Rose’s isn’t just in the restaurant business; it’s in the making-people-happy business.”
    So, so true. If only more restaurants and bars followed this philosophy…

    • Something tells me, most folks aren’t happy to wait two hours for a table with a no-reservation policy. Just sayin’

      • justinbc

        Something tells me the reason you’re waiting 2 hours is because plenty of people are happily content with waiting, if necessary, otherwise there wouldn’t be a need for it.

        • Very big difference between a “need” and a “want.” I’ll wait 2hrs at the DMV because I NEED to. I’d wait 2hrs for a table at a restaurant because I WANT to. If it’s my first time waiting for a table at a specific restaurant and I had to wait 2hrs, I may not WANT to ever go back.

          • Most people who show up at Rose’s Luxury realize there is going to be a wait. I don’t think anyone would be surprised by the two hours. I happily waited – it was a special treat and we planned accordingly. It was well worth the wait. Sitting in a bar next door drinking wine is not exactly an imposition.

            You’re welcome to not wait, I’m sure.

      • there is no obligation for you to go there.

  • No one who cares about his customers this much would make them wait 2 hours with no chance of a reservation. No food is that good.

    • It’s good – but nothing is worth waiting 2 hours for.

    • I’ve never been because waiting 2 hours for a table makes me unhappy. Apparently, Mr. Silverman is in the business of making people other than me happy.

      • justinbc

        What do you propose, they buy the building next door so they can fit you in? Get there at 5PM and you won’t have to wait 2 hours. Barring that, they’re clearly not hurting for business from people who don’t mind waiting.

        • I propose the radical solution that they take reservations like 99% of the other restaurants. It’s great for them that lots of people don’t mind waiting. Like I said, he’s in the business of making people other than me happy. More power to him and them, but I won’t wait two hours for a table, and I rarely want to eat at 5:00. I’ll spend my money at restaurants with more respect for my time.

          • Amen. Respect for my time is HUGE in the service industry.

          • KenyonDweller, I think it’s clear they don’t want your business; simply carry on.

          • justinbc

            I can understand that, 99% of restaurants don’t put out food this good.

          • If you can’t spare 2hrs out of a day then you are probably walking around as a frustrated individual. Sometimes you just have to Stop, Smell the Roses and just relax a little….geesh!

          • Sure, and then you’ll only be able to get a table at 4:30 three months out. I’ve gone around 5:30-6, once on a Friday (granted that’s only about a month or two after it opened) and didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes. There are a ton of bars in the area. Chill out, grab a drink. I’m not one to get in line for anything, but I also don’t plan my evenings months in advance (I don’t have the luxury of a consistent schedule). I’d like for them to take a handful of reservations a night for larger groups (5-7ish) to be able to come here for special occasions, but the space isn’t huge, so totally get it.

          • I am astonished by the people who think that reservations would make it easier to get a table. It won’t. I’d rather waste 2 hours all at once waiting, and get a meal, than 2 hours spread over a 3-month period dialing, and redialing, a busy reservation line, only to finally get through and find out they were booked (ala Minibar when it was good, before the expansion).

          • ^ This 1,000 times!

    • I agree. I’d love to try it, but without reservations I won’t be able to.

    • Actually, my experience has been quite the opposite: by not taking reservations, the restaurant actually makes itself available to a much larger group of people. I will probably never eat at Minibar, Inn at Little Washington, or many of the city’s other “best” restaurants because I have neither the money nor the status to get myself a reservation. But with Rose’s Luxury, I can walk over early on a Friday evening, put my name down, and relax in a nearby bar until my reservation is called. All it takes is a little planning.

      • If you can put your name in and grab a drink somewhere nearby, I’ve got no problem waiting.

      • The status? I’ve eaten at minibar and at inn at little washington (and at a variety of other places that take reservations) and I am not aware of any “status” which I hold. Dont be so insecure… if they dont have reservations, short of being a super regular or a household name, they probably wont be able to find you a place.

        Rose’s would benefit from reservations, even if very limited. I would go there far more often if I could plan a week to 3 weeks in advance.

        Its great food – and I’m sure that keeping a herd of cattle waiting keeps the seats full and the prices down, but its not a practice that maximizes a positive experience for the customer.

        Same with Ray’s… best steak around, but i cant help feeling that they have a bit of contempt for their customers…

        • “Rose’s would benefit from reservations”

          GIven that they routinely have a long wait for a table, how would they benefit? If anything, this process eliminates the problem of no-shows, which plague EVERY restaurant, no matter how popular.

        • Just because it might be beneficial to YOU doesn’t mean it would be beneficial to the restaurant.

          • Fame is fleeting for restaurants. They will build a more loyal customer base who will stick wth them when they aren’t the hot new thing anymore.

            Taking reservations is just one way to show respect to your customers and their time.

            I love their good but I can’t stand any establishment that has decided their policies are more important than their customers time and experience.

      • You don’t need to have status to make reservations at any of those places. You just need to plan and have foresight.

    • justinbc

      Do you understand why restaurants have no reservation policies? It’s because many diners are inconsiderate assholes who make reservations and don’t cancel. Or make multiple reservations across the city until they decide which one they want. When you reserve a table for someone and they don’t show up you are out that table for the night, which hurts the restaurant and the server who now has an empty table. To counter people doing this many restaurants have implemented an up front credit card request in case you cancel in less than 24-72 hours (depending on the place), which naturally people bitch about as well. I think the “no reservations” policy is a superior method than charging people for not showing up, and it’s not like you literally have to stand there waiting in line for 2 hours, you’re free to go elsewhere and they call you when your table is ready.

      • This. I showed up right before 5:30 last Wednesday and was (luckily) seated within 15 minutes, despite anticipating having to wait an hour or two. The experience would have been worth waiting two hours for.

      • An up-front no-return credit card charge upon making a reservation is a perfectly logical solution. Plus, having worked at Obelisk for many years – also a small restaurant with extraordinary food and high demand – we took reservations 30 days ahead and had a wait-list for most days – (with 30+ on weekends) – so rarely had an empty table.

        It was a lot of work however, to call through the wait list when we had a cancellation, so I think a pre-pay credit card reservation is the way to go.

      • That’s fine, but it’s all about convenience to the restaurant. They don’t have to have reservations if they don’t want to, and I certainly don’t have to go there. But I don’t think that he can say he’s all about happy customers and have that long of a wait. Not everyone drinks or wants to hang out in a bar.

        Clearly, they are doing everything right to have this kind of demand, but I just couldn’t agree with his comments that it’s such a customer-focused experience.

        • He’s never going to make everyone happy. And this policy makes many people, including experience diners, happy so I think he’s perfectly justified in saying he’s customer focused.

    • yeah but if there were reservations it would be one of those things where you have to call at 8am on the dot to get the first reservation that opens up 6 months later…it may seem frustrating but in the end it may be a more democratic process. that said i waited about 2.5 hours to go and it was, in fact, awesome. i’ve never been on a weekend so I don’t know what the bar is like then, but my companion and i had a fine time hanging out at the bar upstairs until it was our turn. the bartenders, and the drinks, were delightful.

    • Nobody goes there any more, its too crowded!

  • He makes people wait? How? Does he take their wallet from them and hold it until their name is called?

  • “a city whose food culture is otherwise known mostly for power lunches”

    ^ Hasn’t been to D.C. since the Clinton Administration.

    • justinbc

      To be fair though, although the city has lots of great restaurants now, the “food culture” of the city isn’t explicitly known for anything in particular.

      • You could say the same about Chicago or San Francisco, but they’ve long been known as “food cities.” I would now put D.C. in that category as well, even though it’s not yet on par with cities with more established food scenes.

        • Uh, no, wrong. San Francisco is known for plenty of things such as:

          1. Chinese food
          2. Mexican food (just google “Mission burrito”)
          3. Where “california cuisine” became big.


          Umm, pizza???
          Chicago style hot dog

          Probably others, but I’m not as familiar with Chicago.

          • Ethiopian. Half smokes. Peruvian chicken. Beer (one of the best scenes in the U.S. given our distribution rules).

          • Thank god I wasn’t the one to make that claim about DC 🙂

            But beer? Not really. Prices are much higher than pretty much anywhere else I’ve been (including NYC) and there isn’t much of a beer scene compared to a few places such as San Diego (yeah, yeah, it’s because of the distribution- sure).

          • @Eponymous Most people outside of the DC metro area associate DC with those things. Unfairly, sure, but what most people think of when they think of DC is power lunches. Yeah, they’re waaaaaay behind the times, and the things you listed are certainly things we should be known for, but we’re not.

          • ooops, meant to say “don’t” associate DC with those things…

          • “Chicago: Umm, pizza???”
            Umm, no. A loaf of bread with sauce and cheese on (or in) it? Sure. Sorry, that ain’t pizza. I refer you to Jon Stewart’s thoughts on the matter, with which I wholeheartedly concur.

          • DCD, thanks for your 2 cents on Chicago style pizza but I was merely pointing out that the city is known for a certain food.

    • This! But most reviewers are lazy and love cliches.

    • The “food culture” in DC is steadily improving but it still sucks. You just need to pop over to Baltimore to experience the real deal, and that’s still not much compared to dining meccas like NYC, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans…

      • justinbc

        Out of curiosity, what is the real deal about Baltimore?

      • baltimore? really? LOL!!

        • Baltimore, it’s more likely than you think. Seriously, some great restaurants in B-more. Just got to get away from the Inner Habour. Woodberry Kitchen, Brewer’s Art, just off the top of my head. Lots of small places putting out good, unpretentious food in places like Fell’s Point, Hampden, Canton, etc.

          • woodbury kitchen, brewer’s art i agree with, along with Mathews Pizza near Highlandtown. That said, the rest of the Baltimore food scene sucks compared to DC.

          • justinbc

            I can name like 5 good places in Baltimore too, but then it starts to drop off drastically. It’s nice they have the Little Italy section though, that’s at least something to look forward to. The seafood is obviously more prominent as well. On the whole though I think DC beats them by an arm and a leg.

          • justinbc

            I agree, there are a ton of expensive places with borderline average food in DC. There’s also a crap ton more money in the pockets of the citizens here, which leads to the moneygrab. It’s a huge point of contention for me as well, but unlikely to change as long as there’s so much wealth pouring into the city.

          • “I think a big part of what cheeses me off about dining in DC is that there are so, so many places that charge like they are the best and serve things that are so offensively mediocre everybody feels like they’ve been suckered.”
            This used to be my biggest gripe as well, but things have changed drastically. I can’t keep up with my list of places to try anymore; every time I try one place, two others open. And the ones that I have visited are, more often than not, excellent. Some are very much on par with Michelin-starred restaurants that I have been to.

        • its very weird to me how dc people truly either don’t know or completely underestimate baltimore.

          oh well, stay ignorant.

          • jim_ed

            Similarly, it’s weird to me how provincial and defensive people from Baltimore get when DC is involved. Its a citywide inferiority complex from sports to cuisine to civic pride. Shouldn’t Philly, as another blue collar city that commingles the industrial decay of the north with the casual racism of the south, be your rival and not boring old DC?

          • soooo why not educate us and tell us what’s going on in Baltimore like U-Bahn did?

            Plus ignorance can be a good thing. I come from Baltimore-West aka Oakland, which finally got “discovered” a couple years ago, and prices are now adjusting accordingly.

          • 1:59,
            exactly. i don’t really care if people realize. it’s just strange to me.

          • Philly on the other hand has an excellent restaurant scene that is 10x better than Baltimore’s, ranging from great food at hole-in-the-wall bars to places like Vedge, which is on my top 10 of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten, a list that includes places like Daniel in NYC and Tian in Austria.

          • Well, I was definitely one of those people who had a negative opinion of Baltimore, but I had to relocate a couple months ago to help my fiancé with her search for a permanent job. Now I get the best of both worlds. Baltimore’s food scene is just different than DC’s, so trying to compare them is apples and oranges. As for any defensiveness, meh. I like the DC food scene for what it is and I’m not complaining about the $$$ I save when I go out to eat at a nice place in Baltimore.

          • jim,
            i’m betting they just see more eye to eye, so have less to be defensive about. it’s not uncommon to mention baltimore in dc and people scoff.
            see : anon 1:28.

          • justinbc

            The only vegan I know liked Vedge as well, so kudos to Philly for that. I found a lot of their highly hyped places to be quite disappointing though (Zahav was a definite exception).

        • Corner BYOB, of love and regret, food market (a restaurant with this name, not the food markets), wine market bistro, etc…

        • Baltimore’s food scene is better than DC’s – yeah – it’s true. Sure DC has more and better high end restaurants, but Baltimore does pretty much everything else better. Many more small corner bar/restaurant type places that you just don’t find in DC. The seafood is better, the beer scene is better. Everything is cheaper. And the best high end restaurants (while not as many) compare favorably to anything in DC. LOL at someone saying there are 5 great restaurants in Baltimore and things falling off from there – you haven’t been to Baltimore enough.

          Most importantly Baltimore actually has native food that is weaved into the fabric/culture of the city. Steamed Crabs, Crab Cakes, Old Bay, Pit Beef, Berger Cookies, Snoballs, Lake Trout, Natty Bo, Otterbein cookies, etc. These items scream Baltimore. I can’t think of anything like that in DC – maybe half smokes and mumbo sauce?

          I live in Cap Hill, btw, and have been in DC for over a decade. Rose’s Luxury is probably my favorite restaurant in the city.

          • justinbc

            I didn’t say there ARE 5 great restaurants, I said I can name 5 off the top of my head. I’m sure there are plenty of other great hole in the wall places I’ve not ventured to, but life rarely brings me to Charm City.

      • Respectfully disagree. DC has great restaurants. Why does that have to be to the detriment of any other city? I live here so I enjoy our food scene. If / when I visit Chicago, Baltimore, NYC, etc. I am grateful for and enjoy THEIR food scene. This isn’t a competition. And, it’s definitely not true that the majority of our scene here is “power lunches”, that’s just lazy writing. Pointing that out doesn’t mean anything about the food scenes in other cities.

  • susannahdon

    Yes, the wait is long. But they NEVER ever rush you. We (just 2 of us) got there at 5, and did not leave our table until 9. No hustle, no hint-dropping, no un-bidden check bringing. We got a gratis dessert, and a gratis pasta. Our server was there when we needed her and never there if we didn’t. Yes, the wait sucks (on other nights I’ve totally done the wait). But the food and the hospitality and the graciousness of it when you are there more than makes up for it.

    • The wait sucks because people like you keep a table for 4 hours! That’s unfair to other customers waiting, and to your server and restaurant (even though they might not be dropping any hints)

      • Accountering

        Meh, no its not. When you go to a nice restaurant, you get to sit there. Presumably they were drinking while they sat. I went to dinner during restaurant week and sat for 3.5 hours with my group of 4. We also went through 3 bottles of wine. I didn’t feel bad even for a second.

        • Not all restaurants are the same. I’m not sure where you were, so I wouldn’t know what type of restaurant it was and what the wait was.

          Sometimes the ones who complain about the wait are the same people who stay at restaurants long after they’re done. It’s as if they’ve magically forgotten that they waited for two hours and now believe they’re the only people in the world.

          • justinbc

            The OP never mentioned that they were just idly sitting there wasting space, people are just making that assumption. We had a similar meal there, lasting about 4 hours, but we were eating and drinking virtually the entire time. We also ordered almost the entire menu and had 3 bottles of wine and cocktails, so it’s not unreasonable to think that people can do so. This is also part of the reason why they don’t take reservations, there’s no need to rush someone away from a table they’ve guaranteed to someone else.

          • They also never mentioned they weren’t just idly sitting there…

          • susannahdon

            Oh, we had cocktails coming steadily the whole time.

      • unfair? hahahaha.

        no it isn’t. go somewhere else if you can’t wait.
        restaurants that rush you suck.

    • Good for Rose’s for not trying to push their customers out the door to turn the table, but if you’ve parked yourself at a table for FOUR HOURS you probably aggravated the heck out the two people who would’ve loved to have been seated at your table.

      • While I agree that four hours is beyond the pale, no restaurant should EVER push patrons out the door. I had a host at Daikaya basically ask four of us to order something or GTFO five minutes after paying our bill (we were finishing drinks). That place is dead to me.

    • I agree 4hrs for 2 people for dinner is not cool. You could’ve simply moved to the bar after meals were finished. Unless you’re tipping plenty extra to make up for the loss tips that server would’ve have made- I think its unfair.

    • Seriously – I hope you left like a 40% tip. Camping that long is pretty much like stealing money from your server’s pocket.

      • stealing? jesus you people are nuts.

        • Have you ever waited tables? Because I have and I’m just saying, people that camp for hours when I could be turning tables are the worst.

          • i have waited tables. so that means i should think that people who linger are stealing from me?
            no, it doesn’t. not every place needs to be high turnover. not everything needs to be about maximizing profits.

      • susannahdon

        We did. We may have tipped 50%.

    • Parking your ass at a table for 4 hours is absurd. GTFO.

    • Whoa?!? NOT COOL.

      • As a former Server/Bartender I love all of you that posted about absurdly taking a table for 4 hours. It’s nice to know there are a good amount of people out there that think about other people than themselves.

    • “no un-bidden check bringing.”

      Is this a thing people actually want? I loathe having to ask for the check. It feels tacky. Bring on the check as soon as you notice I’m done, server. You don’t need to be bidden to do so.

      • In Mexico, it is considered rude for the server to bring the check w/out being asked to do so. Just a head’s up if you ever go there (my friends and I learned from experience).

        • I noticed this when I was in Canada, too (or at least Montreal.) I had to practically hunt down a waiter lion-style to get a check.

      • I suspect you might be in the minority here. I don’t mind if they drop of the check “un-bidden”, but that feels like they’re saying “pay me now and leave.” I’ve never heard anyone say that asking for the check feels tacky.

      • OMG this entire comment thread is so filled with WTF I don’t even know where to start. Dropping check off as soon as I finish my food is SO RUDE and tacky. I can’t even imagine a nice restaurant doing that.

        It would be like your host at a house party bringing you your jacket when you made no indication of leaving.

    • seriously what, 4 hours for TWO of you? yeesh.

  • Geez. Something in the air today? If you all know so well exactly how a restaurant should be run why don’t you capitalize on that knowledge and open your own? See if you get named the best new restaurant in the country by any one. We should be all happy that there is a place with neon words “awesome” in it and this signage is completely justified. AND it’s in our city!

    • Indeed. I’ve never been nor am dying to go, but am happy that a DC restaurant received this accolade. Obviously they’re doing something right!

  • GiantSquid

    So who wants to try again for the Garden Deck? It should make everyone happy: you have to make reservations, you can park there all night (4+) hours, and you get all you can eat.

  • Always with the drama. If you don’t like waiting for a table, this place is not for you. Nor are Toki Underground or Little Serow.

    The final word from the newly crowned chef-owner who made his decision based on the best interest of his diners:
    Silverman decided very early on that his restaurant would not take reservations. “You can serve more guests by not taking reservations, and you don’t need to force guests out quicker. That was pretty much it,” he said. “We wanted people to have a good time, and we didn’t want any restrictions on a good time.”

  • Is it just me but how can you offer only 11 little plates and 2 family dishes total and be the best restaurant in the country?

  • This is the most INSANE comment thread I’ve ever seen!! Jesus people are so entitled. YES you have to wait, but so what? If you don’t want to wait, don’t go. Every place doesn’t owe you the experience that you want. It’s a perfectly pleasant way to spend an evening – my husband and I met down there right after work, he put our names in, then we visited a few bars on Barracks row for an hour or so until they texted us that our table was ready.

    It was a delicious, amazing meal – our server was wonderful, the food delicious, we had a great time and experience. I loved it and I would absolutely go again. I’m so happy that they brought this accolade to our city and it’s well deserved.

    If you don’t want to wait, don’t go. If you don’t like Mexican food does a Mexican restaurant owe you other options? Nothing about these comments makes ANY SENSE to me. Life must be so difficult when you’re so quick to be offended.

    • justinbc

      It seems like many people posting thought that you literally had to stand in line for 2 hours waiting, which I agree would be absurd. Never mind that kind of ignores any sort of reason, but it’s not entirely surprising for people to so adamantly oppose something they’re uninformed about….

  • Looking for an opinion from those who have been to both – did you prefer Litle Serow or Rose’s, and why?

    • justinbc

      The only thing comparable between the two is that they both have lines to get a seat… I loved both, great for what they are, and both totally worth the wait if you don’t plan to arrive for the first seating.

  • This thread is crazy. People in this town are nutjobs. Don’t wanna wait? Don’t freaking go…makes my wait shorter.

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