New Orleans is an incredibly serendipitous town, and the idea of Rosedale Restaurant came about when Chef Susan Spicer (Bayona, Mondo) happened upon a curious, interesting property—a former Lakeview police station—tucked away a few blocks from City Park Avenue.
Even for New Orleans, Rosedale is a unique, eclectic spot. It has the vibe of a fishing camp with a clamshell gravelly parking lot that leads to an elevated roadhouse-style space. Ample natural light pours into the dining room, which immediately draws attention to the hearth of the open-air kitchen that’s flanked by a rustic bar. The bar flows into another sun-kissed dining area that leads to a sprawling outdoor patio. Kitchen aromatics pair nicely with music selections offered, such as Lucinda Williams (who has dined here twice) and local bands. Much of the space has been peppered with reclaimed, repurposed material and smart local accents (such as a huge Hubig pies image in a reclaimed window frame, and many photographs of Chef Spicer’s favorite musicians lining the walls), all of which give Rosedale a well-worn, comfortable vibe that one would expect to find in a more-established neighborhood restaurant.
With the world-renowned, James Beard Award–winning Spicer at the helm, Rosedale’s menu is a reflection of Spicer’s commitment to local cuisine as well as her passion for flavors spanning the globe. It’s a reflection of years spent traveling abroad from as far back as she can remember, as well as the international offerings that her mother prepared for family suppers. Nearly a dozen “small” selections include a comforting bowl of turtle soup, elevated by the inspired inclusion of spinach dumplings and paired with the traditional sherry and egg mimosa. Likewise, classics such as rosemary-scented barbecue shrimp and the lemony crab and artichoke dip are both excellent examples of Spicer’s deft touch. If a soulful bowl of stone-ground cheddar grits is your thing, Rosedale’s rendition offers add-ons: smothered greens, broccoli, bacon, mushrooms, eggs, barbecue shrimp, and cochon de lait (which is what we opted for, and it did not disappoint). Guacamole and chips are enhanced by the inclusion of grilled green onions and cotija cheese. If the eggplant caponata with croutons isn’t already appealing enough, you can add an unctuous dollop of burrata cheese. Salads at Rosedale include a chopped salad and the warm mushroom salad, which was a big hit at our table—and gone in a matter of seconds!
Rosedale’s 10 “big plates” range from a pimento cheese sandwich with potato chips to grilled Korean short ribs with spicy pineapple salsa, local kale and mint.
Half the selections are sandwiches, and they are some of the menu’s highlights. The duck pastrami sandwich with Russian dressing, pickled onions, and rye bread was savory and delicious, and the cochon de lait po-boy with hot mustard, slaw and fried pickles will satisfy your Jazz Fest jones. The smoked tuna muffuletta is simply genius, and is the only one I’ve ever had that contends with the classic version from Central Grocery. Besides the seasonal grilled Gulf fish sandwich, Spicer serves up caramelized fish with dirty rice and mirliton chow chow that brings back sweet dreams of the beloved Uglesich’s. Heartier fare includes the lamb meatballs and spaghetti, bourbon-fried chicken thighs with mac-n-cheese, greens and Tabasco honey. Also on the roster is a generous portion of shrimp creole garnished with fried eggplant and rice. The four sides include Italian-style broccoli and a baked sweet potato with Steen’s butter.
Rosedale’s dessert list is short and sweet, including sorbet and ice cream varieties, a pineapple mango upside down cake and a killer pecan pie. The cocktail menu strikes a pleasant balance of craft and classic, and many local beers on tap. The wine selection is abbreviated but often features special selections and always offers a variety of options from three-ounce pours to one liter. We loved the reasonably priced Brunn Grüner Veltliner and the Le Charmel Rose from Provence.
The service at Rosedale is attentive, unobtrusive and friendly, presided over by co-owner Jenni Rainosek Lynch, who is also Spicer’s business partner at Mondo. Recently, Chef Allison Birdsall has been named Executive Chef. Birdsall, a native of Cut Off, Louisiana, has deep local ties, including working for Commander’s Palace and Domenica. Rosedale has become a go-to spot for many in the neighborhood looking for a great local experience which is aided by a happy hour from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Rosedale Resturant; 801 Rosedale Drive; New Orleans, LA 70124; (504) 309-9595; Wednesday through Friday 11 a.m.-’til; Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-’til.