Restaurant Features: Bar,
Location: Minneapolis, MN (Downtown)
Address: 609 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
Hours: Mon – Thurs: 11am – 11pm Fri 11am-12am Sat 12pm-3pm & 4pm-12am Sun 12pm-3pm & 4pm-11pm
Links: Rosa Mexicano Website * Rosa Mexicano on Facebook * Google Map
Atmosphere: Located Downtown at the heart of the Theater District on the corner of 6th St and Hennepin Ave, the Rosa Mexicano chain out of New York has finally made its way to Minneapolis. The interior of the restaurant is posh and trendy, with unique decor including a water table with strings of diving figurines suspended above. From a distance they looked like doves or some type of origami; I had to get closer to see what they really were.
Along one wall of the dining room are lit shelves of multi-colored liquids in clear vases, a cheap but fun way to brighten and color up the room.
There is another dining area attached to the lounge area, used for over-flow dining or private parties.
The Bar and Lounge area is just to the right of the dining room, accessible from the main entrance on Hennepin Ave. There are a number of tables where patrons can either enjoy a cocktail or stay for dinner.
Menu: Appetizers include Guacamole en Molcajete, Tortilla Soup, Market Salad, Chicken Flautas, Yellowtail Tartare, Roasted Bone Marrow, Crab Empanadas, Veggie Quesadillas, Queso Fundido, and Pork Belly and Sea Scallop Tacos.
Entrees at Rosa Americano include Mexico City Street Salad and Barbequed Tuna Loin, Shrimp Brochette, Butterflied Red Snapper, Salmon with Tropical Fruit Mole, Grilled Steak with Chipotle Shrimp, Short Ribs, Mixed Grill Brochette, Filet Mignon with Wild Mushrooms, Budin de Pollo, Chile Ancho Relleno, Pork Steak, Beef Mole Enchiladas, Chicken Suiza Enchiladas, Veggie Enchiladas, Jumbo Lump Crab Enchiladas, Chicken Tacos, Steak Tacos, and Roasted Veggie Tacos.
Mexican Dessert offerings include Churros, Cheesecake, Anejo-Chipotle Chocolate Flautas, Blackberry Tres Leches Cake, Espresso Flan, and a selection of Mexican Sorbets and Ice Creams.
Price guide: Appetizers $8-14 Entrees $16-28
What we ordered: I had heard the table-side guacamole was well-worth its $14 price tag, and since I rarely pass up the chance to eat fresh guacamole, that is what my companion and I started with. You can order it mild, medium or salsa and it will be made fresh, right in front of you.
We ordered the guacamole with medium spice. It was fresh and delicious and very flavorful. It had nice big chunks of avocado and was creamy everywhere else.
The guacamole came with Chips & Salsa. The chips were freshly homemade; hot and crispy. One salsa was Pasilla de Oaxaca and one was Tomatillo & Habanero. They were very different but both very good. The Oaxaca salsa was smokey and had some zip to it. A basket of fresh, homemade corn tortillas are also served on the side.
I ordered the Traditional Margarita. This drink was good but was mostly ice. At $10, it was about $2 per sip and didn’t quite pack a punch at that price.
I had asked for a recommendation for either the Salmon en Fruit Mole or the Chile Relleno with Pork. I usually love chile relleno and the shredded pork sounded very good so I went along with this. I was actually quite disappointed with this dish. The chile had been roasted or smoked so that it was very hard and chewy. Once I peeled the pepper away, there was a mound of dry, seasoned roasted pork inside. There was no cheese as most chile rellenos have, which would have helped it int he moisture department. The manager stopped by to ask how everything was and I was honest that I hadn’t really enjoyed the chile relleno so he insisted that they make something else for me. I told him this was not necessary but he felt obligated to make things right and he wanted to make sure that if I didn’t want a new dish for dinner, they could at least ensure that I had something for my lunch the following day.
The meal that they replaced the Chile Relleno with was the Budin de Pollo. This picture was taken the following day after it had been reheated in the container it was packaged in. Despite being a day old, I enjoyed this dish more than the Chile Relleno. There were several large chunks of white meat chicken sandwiched between two layers of soft corn tortillas that had been baked with Chihuahua cheese and strips of roasted Mexican peppers. It also had a creamy poblano pepper sauce that was mild yet gave the dish most of its flavor. The portion size was big enough for two meals, especially with the sides of refried black beans and rice that they also sent along.
My companion ordered the Enchiladas de Jaiba, which is jumbo lump crab with pumpkin seeds rolled into corn tortillas and then topped with a tomatillo sauce and chihuahua cheese then baked. This was very good, but my companion did not care for the extra crunchy texture of the pumpkin seeds in this dish.
Our entrees came with family-style Rice. This was not traditional Mexican rice but it was flavorful and tasted pretty good. The kernels of rice were short and plumb, I am not sure which variety it was. I especially liked all of the fresh cilantro that it was topped with.
We also got family-style Refried Black Beans. These were smooth, creamy and delicious.
Service: We arrived late for our reservation at the prime dinner hour and unfortunately the table had been given away. The host was friendly and we only had to wait about five minutes before another table became available and we were seated. We started with table-side guacamole and were able to get this service immediately. It took awhile longer for our drinks. The entrees took nearly 45 minutes after ordering, which seemed like quite a long time. The server apologized for the delay but not really sure why it took so long. Our server had several recommendations for me when I asked her, but I really wasn’t impressed with her selection. My companion ordered a soda but it was left unfilled until we asked if there were free refills or not (there are!) when our meals arrived. When I mentioned that my dish was just “alright”, the server walked away without asking me to elaborate. Fortunately the manager also stopped by to ask about our meals. He went out of his way to make sure we were satisfied when we left and felt very bad that the chile relleno was not up to standard.
Overall Impression: This was my first visit to a Rosa Mexicano restaurant and while I enjoyed the atmosphere, the food was below my expectations for the amount of money we paid. The table-side guacamole was delicious but overpriced. The food can be good, depending on what you order, but didn’t meet my idea of authentic Mexican food. I have found far better food on my travels to Mexico, where I have visited on twenty separate occasions.