November 7, 2011
Who eats: Business types; conventioneers on break from the nearby convention center.
Why eat: This prime steakhouse and banquet facility is an independent restaurant holding its own against such heavy hitters as Morton's, Gibsons and, McCormick & Schmick's.
Ambience: Boardroom luxury. White tablecloths over padded tabletops, polished-wood wall paneling, thick carpeting. An eclectic, almost random assortment of art on the walls.
Dress code: You'll see a few knit shirts among the diners, but business casual is the rule.
Noise factor: You might hear a burst of applause if any of the six private dining rooms is hosting a group, but the dining room itself is very quiet.
Overheard: "You know what keeps me going? Fear."
Service: Owner Jim Mandas is a constant presence, whether by the host stand or in the dining room. Five minutes after we were seated, he strolled by and greeted me by name (well, the name I used for the reservation). Waiters and bus staff work the room with practiced efficiency and near-constant motion.
Menu: American, with a small section of prime steaks (at lunch portions) for the meat eaters. Main courses include soup or salad, so everybody eats substantially here.
Reliable options: The signature burger ($11.95) with aged cheddar is excellent, and scallops over linguine ($16.95) are a good bet when available (seafood options change). Coconut-crusted shrimp ($15.95) with spicy pineapple chutney and chipotle mayonnaise offers good sweet-spicy interplay.
Cellphone reception/Wi-Fi: Strong reception. Free Wi-Fi, no password needed.
Expect to pay: $30 to $55 for two.
Reservations: Strongly recommended; this place gets busy. Reserve by phone or on OpenTable.com.
Contact: 847-696-9494; rosewoodrestaurant.com
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