July 12, 2009

Rosemary's: Las Vegas

We decided to finally check out Rosemary's Restaurant on West Sahara, owned by Chefs Wendy & Michael Jordan. Chef Wendy is an instructor at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary College where Matt is still currently a student.

As per our usual practice, we first checked out the online menu then called ahead to make a reservation specifically mentioning that there will be a vegan dining with the party. We were assured that "the vegan" would be taken care of.

Knowing that this restaurant would specialize in French-American cuisine, I did not have high hopes of eating from the menu, though I did have very high expectations that something creative and original would be made for me after talking to the chef. Looking over the menu, there were not any appetizers that could be made to be vegetarian, much less vegan. There are 3 vegetarian salads that could have the cheese removed, and only one vegetarian entree: Parmesan Tossed Angel Hair Pasta.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, our server assistant, Daniel, asked if there were any food allergies or specific dietary needs we wanted addressed (I'm just assuming that he had not been privy to the reservation book) so of course I told him that I was vegan. He assured me that our server, Katie, would discuss options with me when she arrived at the table. And she did! Even though she was very enthusiastic and helpful, she did not have many options to offer me.

The assistant returned with 4 rolls, placing 2 on my dish. Now, one thing you have to know about me is that I do still eat honey. I know that's not 100% vegan, but I do still eat it - this is an effect of me also following a "yogic diet" which encourages honey instead of white refined sugar. The rolls that were placed on my plate were "sweet rolls" with walnuts & drizzled with a fine layer of honey. Quite frankly, I could have been perfectly happy with the rolls and the Arugula Salad!!

The pre-appetizer, two slices of Riesling poached pear drizzled with port wine syrup - setting me up perfectly for the: Arugula, Endive & Radicchio Salad
Maytag Blue Cheese, Riesling Poached Pear, Toasted Hazelnuts & Port Wine Syrup
Wine: Dr. Loosen “Blue Slate” Riesling Beer: Pilsner Urquell

I asked that the bleu cheese be left off the plate, but I did pair the salad with the Dr. Loosen, a fine pairing! I don't normally like white wine, but this was worth it.

Katie returned from the kitchen with the news that they would make me a "vegetable platter" which to me sounded an awful lot like a bunch of unseasoned vegetables on a plate. She must have seen my apathy because she suggested that she would include a balsamic sauce on the veggies. Sure fine, but I saw that angel hair pasta was offered in the entrees, couldn't they make me that without the cheese? She assured me that they could absolutely make that for me.

It was good. A little nest of angel hair pasta with half of a red onion, 4 stalks of asparagus, red pepper & zucchini - all grilled. I had been specific in asking that none of the veggies would be prepared using butter, but I did not remember to ask what surface the veggies would be grilled on. As I ate my meal, I suddenly realized that there was a distinct possibility that my veggies were cooked on the same surface as other meats. Hm. A question I will not forget to ask again in the future. I have discovered that being a "dining-out-vegan" is a learning process - and right now, my stomach is a little uncomfortable, so I'm guessing that yes, my veggies shared a surface.

We won't talk about what Matt ordered because it was decidedly un-vegan, but he did order a Prix-Fixe and thoroughly enjoyed his 3-courses. At the end of the meal, they did give us a complimentary raspberry sorbet with chocolate piping. Unfortunately, they put a dab of créme chantilly on it, so I was only able to eat a couple bites of dairy free sorbet. That said, the sorbet was rich & creamy! A nice sweet finish to the meal.

In all... I'm giving Rosemary's 3 Sprouts for veg*options in proportion to the total price we paid for the meal ($133.58).

This "veg rating" does NOT diminish the fact that the menu is very creative and non-vegans would be completely satisfied with their menu options. I'm a bit disappointed that the kitchen was not more creative in making something that didn't involve a few vegetables thrown on to a plate, and that *I* had to be the one to suggest adding pasta.

I went into the evening with very high expectations and in the end can only say that I have had chefs at less expensive restaurants do more for me in the creativity department.

Eat at Rosemary's! It was a beautiful space, creative menu & and had kind courteous waitstaff. Maybe the more vegans who make reservations there and request better options, the more creativity we'll see from the kitchen. Just because we're vegan doesn't mean we don't LIKE food! I want to eat at all the "special" places, too.

8125 W. Sahara
Las Vegas, NV 89117

Fax: 702.869.2283

Lunch (Mon-Fri): 11:30am-2:30pm

Dinner (Daily) 5:30pm - close

Reservations: Suggested though walk-ins welcome

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