A belated birthday lunch for a dear friend. But where? Somewhere peaceful, with an attractive and refined decor, comfortable chairs, nice lighting, and an accommodating and helpful server. Well that turned out to be Rosie’s Southern Kitchen and Raw Bar on Bank Street.
The two of us arrived on a Tuesday late morning just when Rosie’s was opening for lunch. We sat in the weather-protected patio area up front, a spot of our choosing. We were the first customers there and when we sat down, the quasi-country southern music came on.
A short while later, our server came by and asked for our drink orders. We found it difficult to chat as the music was a bit loud, but without hesitation, our server went and turned down the music a notch or three for us without blinking an eye. A good omen, we said. She returned with our drinks (water) and menus in hand.
To start, we ordered the Basket of Fresh Corn Chips and Spicy Red Sauce. Although the chips aren’t made at the restaurant, they cut and cook them here just before serving. The chips were crispy and tasty with the sauce made in-house. It was a good start for this lunch.
The lunch menu is short enough to make choosing easier although there are a few other menu items worthy of another visit. The paella for one. This time, we ordered the HooDoo Hamburger and the Fish & Chips.
The burger came with fries on the side and onion rings on top. What made the rings stand out was the crispy batter made with cornmeal. It added a nice crunch and colour. The burger itself, fresh patty not frozen, was spicy with the ancho dusted old cheddar cheese and peppercorn bacon, and a little dry but that’s to be expected with how hamburger needs to be well cooked and our desire for lean.
My friend’s Fish & Chips dish was an original take on the meal made with the “catch-of-the-day” catfish, something both of us had never had before. Catfish is moister than the usual haddock or cod so the shell or batter was crisper than normal, but not burned. It tasted great with tartar sauce and stood up alone as well.
The fries with both our meals were standard fare – nothing to get excited about and nothing to really disappoint. What was quite striking, though, was the slaw with jicama, something I haven’t heard of nor tried before, that accompanied the Fish & Chips dish. From Mexico, jicama is an edible tuberous root also known as a yam bean. Very refreshing.
Throughout our lunch, our server made sure our glasses were filled with water and answered our peppering of questions about the food. For dessert, we shared the Mayan Chocolate Cookies, four warm and delicious cookies served with a rice and almond milk blend with nutmeg and cinnamon.
Throughout our meal the restaurant did fill up with customers and conversations filled the air. Fortunately, they weren’t competing with the music. My friend mentioned she felt “treated” and that is how you want to feel at a special time, so for a (belated) birthday lunch, it was perfect because it seemed special, thanks to our server and to Rosie’s.
Lunch for two with an appetizer and dessert came to about $50 with taxes, before tip. I did leave a generous tip – it was well worth it.
Rosie’s Southern Kitchen and Raw Bar is at 895 Bank St. For hours and reservations call 613-234-7674 or go online.