Even though I live and work on the westside, somehow I had managed not to go to Tar & Roses in the 4 [?] years it’s been open (less the time they were closed last year post-fire) until this week. It was definitely worth the wait. It’s one of those places where the initial buzz never seemed to die down, and after several unsuccessful attempts to make a reservation on a week’s notice or less (because I don’t tend to plan my dinners far in advance), last week I took a shot and was actually able to get a 7pm res for 2 this past Wednesday night.
Friend and I were seated on the back patio, which I would guess is usually relatively quiet, but this particular night a large celebratory group was seated down the middle of the space which upped the noise level. Still, we were able to carry on a conversation.
Neither of us is a vegetarian, but we do love our vegetables, and I don’t eat fish or shellfish, so our ordering was vegetable-heavy. We had:
lemon ricotta gnocchi / butternut squash / brussels / saba
charred gem lettuce / dates / pancetta / bay blue cheese
roasted beets / feta / tarragon / horseradish
brussels sprouts / chestnuts / crisp pancetta / mustard
lamb sirloin with eggplant, couscous and a couple other things (the one item we ordered that’s not on the current online menu so I can’t cut and paste the description )
Everything was really, really outstanding except for the beets, which were just ok, and I love beets. They were roasted whole - peels, stems, and all - which was a bit of a novelty but meant they didn’t absorb much flavor from the other elements of the dish. All the dishes were small-plate-sized except for the lamb which was a full entree, and for two women with medium appetites this was just a little too much food. I.e., we could have easily skipped the beets.
Service was excellent, attentive but not at all rushed. My one complaint/critique is that the wine mark-ups seem particularly steep, based upon the couple of bottles that I was familiar with. But I can live with that, and I’m definitely looking forward to a return visit.