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Rosebud: The Fine Southern Dining Experience You’d Never Expect

About a year ago, my friends and I were walking along Elm Street looking for a place to grub. Way, way down, past Anna’s and Goodwill, and awfully close to Domino’s, someone pointed across the street at a rundown, silver diner cart, and said, “What about there?” Dream-crushingly, we all gave him a pretty hard time for the suggestion and haven’t spoken to him since.

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Source: National Heritage Museum

Kidding. But we were definitely skeptical and even as we kindly tried to look into the place for our friend we realized it was closed. Little did we know this budding restaurant was simply under construction and inside is one of the most delicious upscale American eateries in Davis Square!

You see, a few weeks ago my suitemate came in raving about an amazing dinner she had had for her boyfriend’s birthday. Enthused, I asked her to describe her meal: the heartiest beef brisket sandwich and jalapeno peppers wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cream cheese were the essential highlights. Yet the last place I was expecting such mouthwatering food to come from was that dingy diner cart from over a year ago… When she dropped the name, “Rosebud” I could barely believe it, and knew we all had to go back and check the place out for ourselves.

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Stylish interior design

When you walk into Rosebud, you are actually walking behind the steel diner cart which is there as a novelty, almost ironic, decoration, that sharply contrasts the swanky interior of the newly renovated restaurant. A hostess stands behind the front glass counter not unlike that of a pastry shop which features gourmet pies. As we were being seated I caught glimpses of the crowd and immediately realized how under dressed my companions and I were in our assorted post-college outfits from TDC attire to rugby mud. Squeezing into a black leather booth across the sleek wooden bar we could catch glimpses of the plasma screen televisions that were sandwiched between a retro style neon sign that proclaimed “Rosebud” in bright red at the center of the setup.

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Check out the nifty bar!

Enamored by the decor, the fancy crowd, and the hip setting, we barely had time to process the menu. A classy spin on Southern dining, we finally decided to split the much raved about beef brisket sandwich, a ribs and pumpkin ravioli dish, onion rings, and the jalapeno peppers, called “Atomic BT’s.” While we waited, waiters continued to fill up our water cups and a friend downed a lavender lemon spritzer that truly tasted like drinking flowers.

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Spritzer from heaven or some fairytale land

When the food came, I was in awe. Though the prices were rather steep for considerably average size (if not even small, particularly in regards to the ravioli) portions, the appearance was astounding.

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The one exception to the overpriced trend of Rosebud were these shoestring onion rings. Impeccable and $5!

Everything exuded rich warm colors and well prepared dishes worth writing home about. Starting with the peppers I found bliss. The crisp, salty bacon complimented the creamy cheese inside and the peppers were not bluntly spicy but rather had a more gradual kick that tied the three flavors together. The brisket was slightly overcooked but still phenomenal. I was pleasantly stoked to see it stuck to the plate in a coating of crisp cheddar cheese, and the horseradish sauce along with the sweet, sweet, BBQ caramelized onions gave the sandwich gravity.

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Check out that baked cheese underneath!

Moreover, a man came out with a fig and duck flatbread, “on the house!” Talk about crazy luck. Though not something I would have ever considered ordering the sweet fig and moist duck worked wonders together upon the thin crust.

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Ain’t no pizza like a free pizza

Though full, Rosebud does not bring you to the point of no return where you’re clenching your stomach in pain and misery. Instead, it’s the kind of place that encourages you to order pie, so order we did. Sharing the most wonderfully moist pumpkin pie to have ever touch my tongue and an interesting apple ginger cherry pie that only got better with each bite, I found bliss.

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When I saw the bill… Not so much. The entrees are delicious but drastically overpriced. It would do to find some appealing appetizers or sandwiches/flatbreads and skip the main courses, especially if you want a $7 slice of pie. While an amazing dinner experience, Rosebud is the kind of place you take your friends out to celebrate an event, maybe get a drink or two at the bar, eat some interesting small plate and split a pie among the crowd. And hey, not only do you leave with a happy stomach but also with a life lesson… Never judge a book by its cover or a wonderful Southern eatery by its shoddy dining cart front.

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No delectable food gets left behind

-Lauren Samuel

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