Garlic has been cultivated for some 6,000 years as best we know. What you may not know is garlic is actually a lily, although it doesn't hold much resemblance to the Easter variety that smells just a bit sweeter, but not necessarily better.
On a recent visit to the Garlic Rose, we at least found the garlic, along with great service and outstanding food.
Some of you may remember when this intimate little spot on Brookside was The Gold Coast and artisan coffee roaster that served all its fine coffees in a French press, brought to your table after you ordered it. Great stuff.
But, I digress. For more than 8 years, the location has been the aforementioned Garlic Rose, serving a loyal customer base both inside and out, (they have a small courtyard seating area with live music) in an intimate, Mediterranean setting. Walls are rich stucco, wood is dark and elegant and as is the trend these days, the kitchen is visible to all who enter and regardless of where inside you sit. It is very charming and romantic.
Executive Chef Tim Reed does an outstanding job of creating fresh and exciting specials to perfectly compliment his menu. You can watch he and his crew prepare your dinner as you sip a glass of wine from a respectable list of domestic and imported wines. It's just a wonderful, relaxed meal in an excellent place.
Our service professional, an absolutely charming young lady by the name of Dawn, was a delight. She knew the menu as well as the chef probably does and steered us in the right direction 100 percent of the time.
In a fine restaurant, it's not enough to be greeted, "watered" and served by your server. They should be a tour guide, taking you through all the little alleys and back streets of the menu and wine list to help you pick exactly what suits your tastes. And Dawn was all of that. A native Cape Codder, our server assured us that the fish on the menu was almost as good as what she grew up on and with a back-point of her thumb let us know that the chef, "does amazing things with anything he touches." Now that's the kind of enthusiasm I like to see. You know you're going to get a good meal when the staff feels that way! And we did.
We started with an item at the bottom of the appetizer section, sort of hidden among the Carpaccio, risotto crab cakes and baked bries, and unassumingly titled Domestic and Imported Cheese Course. ($13.95)
It was anything but! Presented on a large platter was a combination of prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, strawberries, dark grapes, Kalamata olives, mushrooms, pepperoncinis and several heavenly cheeses. Everything from a Vermont smoked white cheddar, to creamy goats cheese, Gorgonzola, and more. Last but not least were paper slices of fresh salami and soft pepperoni, and the whole thing was drizzled with fresh virgin olive oil and balsamic.
Our salad course, graciously split for us to share, was a warm mozzarella and spinach salad ($8.95). Fresh baby spinach is layered with sweet bruschetta tomatoes, fresh bufala mozzarella, and warmed. Great idea, great salad. It really works.
I deliberated long and hard over the Chicken Pietro, ($15.95) a grilled chicken breast marinated in balsamic vinaigrette, garlic, rosemary, mustard and a dash of honey, which is crowned with grilled portabella mushrooms slices and served over linguini pasta, but finally settled on one of the chef's specials, Tournedos alla Forestiere. Two three-ounce fillet medallions with a Madeira demi-glace, served over garlic mashed potatoes with asparagus and garnished with fried matchstick potatoes. The dish absolutely melted in my mouth.
Katie spent a bit of time hovering over the Seafood Bucatini ($26.95), a Lemon pepper bucatini pasta tossed with fresh garlic, shallots, Italian parsley, tomatoes, and a white wine sauce, which is topped with calamari, shrimp, scallops and lobster. But at the behest of server Dawn, she went for another chef's special, the Pacific Flounder en Paupiette -- a seven-ounce filet stuffed with blue crab meat and topped off with a lobster beurre blanc served over sun dried tomato pesto bucatini and ratatouille. I usually get the better item, but she edged me out this night. It was perfection.
"The Garlic Rose in my opinion is one of the best locally owned places to eat in town," said general manager Dru Palazzo. "Executive chef Tim Reed does an amazing job by keeping the food fresh and consistent. The front of the house staff is another reason why this restaurant has continued to be a success. Menu knowledge by the server plays a key part in this, if you can't decide on what to eat ask your server and they will gladly pick something out for you."
Garlic Rose has a nice lunch menu, albeit a bit pricy. The restaurant does a lot of catering as well. On a cool evening you can sit on the restaurant's stone courtyard and listen to some great live music by local artists.
This is a great place to go for a special occasion or just a comfortable relaxed evening with friends and family.
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