It’s been a little over a year and a half since Rosewood joined the ranks of Montreal’s busy restaurant scene. Part restaurant, part bar and part music venue (no doubt an influence brought to the restaurant by co-owner and Montreal rocker, Jonas), Rosewood has aimed to add a rock and roll element to our dining experience and they have found success in doing so. Though people have been quiet about the restaurant since its bombastic opening back in August 2014, Rosewood has maintained a relatively steady success with its reputation for fine cocktails and great food.
To drum up a little buzz for their on-going musical and sports themed nights as well as their up-coming event line-up, Rosewood gathered some of Montreal’s media to its second floor bar to feed us and have us sample their cocktails. The media event coincided with one of the restaurant’s famous jam nights. Every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month, musicians and singers are invited to showcase their talents on Rosewood’s stage. The restaurant also features live music every Friday night and of course, no winter season would be complete without a hockey night broadcasts. The restaurant will also feature an Oscar viewing party on Sunday, the 28th of February.
Rosewood is known throughout Montreal’s bar scene as being one of the best places in the city to get a great cocktail. We kicked the night off with a Russian Bride, a mix of beet juice, Kettle One vodka, fresh dill and lime juice. I am not fussy about fancy cocktails (I’m very happy with a martini or an Old Fashioned) but this blew me away. It was perfectly blended, not too sweet and great way to start the night. At Rosewood they make all their concentrates for their cocktails in-house and that in itself is pretty impressive. We continued the cocktail portion of the evening with a drink called the Midnight Oil. This was a delicious mix of Jim Bean, raspberry infused ginger beer and essence of rosemary.
Soon after we started our cocktail adventures, food from Rosewood’s entrée menu started coming out of the kitchen. It was their goal to have us sample everything on the entrée menu and then have us choose a main dish a little later. One of the most popular items from the entrée menu is the chicken nuggets (pictured below) and it may also be their best. Though the name hardly does this food justice, the meat comes from the thigh of the chicken and is battered then fried and served with lemon and homemade ranch or jalapeño dip. We also sampled the charcuterie platter (no brainer), a delicious chorizo salad that blended fresh tangerines, lima beans and an emulsified mandarin dressing and the restaurants Kefta skewers (lamb, yogurt, mint and cucumber).
The main courses at Rosewood are an eclectic mix of wild cod, Chinatown inspired pork ribs, lamb shanks (served with cheddar mashed potatoes, root vegetables and bordelaise), cornish hen and both a mutton and yellowfin burger. When it came time to order my main course I went for a classic beef burger instead (because, you know, I never do) with the intention of stealing food from the plate of my neighbour, one of the Montreal Food Divas. I often distract her with something shiny or tell her I’ve done something to her car. She still hasn’t figured out what I’ve done but she will, any day now.
Things went a little off the rails when it comes to the main course. We were a big crowd and both myself and one other person at the table got forgotten in the mix. At first it wasn’t noticeable but after almost an hour, when the food I ordered still hadn’t arrived, I decided to call it quits. When my food finally came I asked for it to go and left the event. It would be explained later that there were more people in attendance then had been accounted for. This combined with showcasing their cocktails led to confusion as they waiters and waitresses where running back and forth to the bar and up and down stairs. I don’t accept “more people showed up than planned” as an excuse in any instance but the waitstaff at Rosewood were going out of their way to be as kind and helpful as possible (they were truly wonderful – an amazing display of professionalism). It isn’t the restaurant’s responsibility to control the guest list for an event such as this but when I attend a media event and I RSVP for one, I show up as one, not with my squad. But that’s just me.
The next day, when the restaurant learned about what happened they reacted right away and invited me back once again as soon as I could. In this business, you have to remain as objective as possible so earlier this week, I went back on my own to try that burger that evaded me the first time. When I arrived I pulled up to the bar and ordered a smoked Old Fashioned. I have had many of these in my day but none so elaborate as this. The Old Fashioned is made from Old Forester, maple syrup, orange zest and angostura bitters. Once the ingredients are blended in a glass jug, the barmaid added a few pieces of dried oak to a burner and the smoke was vacuumed into the jug where it adds a delicious smokey flavour to the drink. This was one of the best Old Fashioned cocktails I have ever tried.
When the burger came out of the kitchen, it was placed in front of me at the bar and I smiled as I always do when I see an old friend. The burger itself is quite simple (as I like it), topped with organic beef, american cheddar, caramelized onions, spiced pickle, tomato, lettuce and a house sauce. It was so good that it now sits in my top 4 burgers to try in Montreal. The fries, which are coated in steak spices are pretty great too.
Rosewood is an exciting part of Montreal’s nightlife. They have gone above and beyond to prove to me that they take pride in providing good service, serving great food and providing their guests with a great, music-filled atmosphere.
For more information, visit their website here and be sure to follow all our adventures on Instagram and Twitter @dayjobnightlife