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Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread...

By John R. Bonds

I love bread. From bagels to baguettes, from bruschetta to biscuits. I love bread! And living without it drives me crazy. But after looking in the mirror three months ago and seeing more chins than in a Chinese phone book, I decided to do that dreaded "d thing." I promptly hired a personal trainer and I've been trying to stay on a high-protein diet ever since.

Bread is normally verboten on my diet, so maybe that's why I savored the potato bread rolls on my "cheat day" at the new Rosemary's Restaurant at 8125 West Sahara Avenue. They are so simple, yet so fine and flavorful. They're made in house and are brushed with melted butter and topped with kosher salt. I'm told they originated in the Midwest, where Chef/Owner Michael Jordan comes from. And lest you think the ex-basketball star has traded in his sneakers for clogs, this Michael Jordan is from Emeril's fame, not da Bulls.

Emeril Lagasse is the most beloved and famous chef in this country, period. His TV Food Network shows are seen by an estimated 30 million people per day and have done more to promote fine food and dining to current and future generations than all the celebrity chefs combined. Michael Jordan was a protege of Emeril, having worked for him in New Orleans and then opening his New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand. But Emeril's shadows are long, and after several years behind, Jordan moved out front with his new restaurant named after his mother. Along with his wife Wendy--who's also a top-notch cook--Jordan has brought upscale, gourmet cuisine to a far west neighborhood that badly wanted and needed it.

I first entered Rosemary's a few days after it opened. My father and I walked in with shorts and "aloha" shirts, but after eyeing several sharply attired patrons at the bar, we suddenly felt "underdressed" and slinked out for another eatery. The sharp looking bar occupies the front of this store-front restaurant and boasts a nice selection of wines by the glass and an eclectic list. The decor at Rosemary's is understated and feels elegant. It's colors are cool green and lots of browns. Original artwork by artist Wendy Shetler adorns the walls. The main dining room is small, with only 78 seat available. The kitchen is open and offers a great view of Jordan using his considerable culinary skills.

On my first visit to Rosemary's, I ordered the Wisconsin White Cheddar quesadillas ($7.50) appetizer and the grilled cheese sandwich ($8.50). The quesadillas were real winners. I had never tried white cheddar, only the orange variety. It had a slightly sharp flavor and made for a delightful starter. It  came with a delicious relish, full of chunks of avocado and tomatoes. I loved the thick bread slices and prosciutto ham in my sandwich. It came with a tall stack of slightly soggy, but tasty onion rings. My service was attentive, but tentative, no doubt because of the recent opening.

My next trip to Rosemary's was lunch with one of the more successful restaurateurs in Vegas. Restaurant owners are notoriously picky when dining at their competition. He ordered the grilled pork chop ($10.50) and enjoyed it! We both also found the  lemon shrimp appetizer ($7.00) with a fennel emulsion excellent. My entree was the grilled mahi mahi fish special served on a bed of vegetables--perfect for my diet and sublime, with a firm finish and flavorful flesh.

In recent conversations with listeners and viewers of our Taste of Vegas Radio and TV restaurant shows, I've heard that Rosemary's is doing great business. And this makes me happy, because Vegas needs more upscale restaurants in the burbs, and the success of places like Rosemary's and chefs like Jordan signals that our local tastes are moving away from the chuck wagon image that has so long dominated.

Rosemary's Restaurant
8125 West Sahara Ave.
Tel: (702)869-2251

Lunch  Monday  thru Friday 11:30 am - 2:30pm
Dinner Monday thru Saturday 5:30pm - 10:30pm

CUISINE: Modern American, with an emphasis on fresh, locally grown ingredients, cooked in creative way

RECOMMENDED DISHES: All, especially the seafood



WINE LIST: Excellent, with good pricing


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