We’re waiting in line for a different restaurant when we spot Rosewood just across the street. It’s sitting atop a hill on a pretty triangle of green grass in a Queen Anne Victoria-style home that was built in 1890. Its official title is the historic Haynes-DeLashwah House, and it was apparently the original home of a Mr. Harry Haynes, who sat on the Austin city council for nearly three decades. It then changed ownership to Thomas DeLashwah, Austin’s first African-American pharmacist.
It’s a gorgeous sunny day and though the inside is very intriguing, we ask to sit outside. It’s just too picturesque to pass up, what with the sprawling lawn, bistro lights, and view of Austin.
Executive chef and owner Jesse DeLeon said, “I developed Rosewood’s menu to be simultaneously familiar and surprising.” Brunch is a simple but interesting list of Tex-Mex favorites mingled with other unique items.
“Smothered” hash browns are crunchy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside, topped with cheese and delicious brisket. Our only complaint: not enough brisket. However, Rosewood makes up for it with the Croque Madame. Two slices of thick Texas toast, smothered with mustard, bookend huge slices of melt-in-your-mouth brisket (almost too big). Bechamel and a sunny egg sit atop the masterpiece. The toast is slightly sweet and dense enough to take a stand against the runny yolk, melted cheese, and meat. Served alongside is a pile of crunchy homemade salt-and-vinegar chips. I spotted a French onion dip appetizer and asked if they wouldn’t mind adding it to my dish? Happy to, at no extra charge. Maybe that’s why it tasted so good. But I have a feeling it was also about the creamy texture and tangy onion flavor. I would come back just for that and a drink on a warm Austin night.
Barbacoa tacos are not quite so Texas-sized, but still are plenty. They come with pickled onions, sliced radishes, salsa verde, and warm flour and corn tortillas wrapped in cloth. I usually lean toward flour, but these corn tortillas are so fresh, I find myself eating them without anything else. The barbacoa is crisp on the outside with a deep flavor that reminds me of a mole. It contrasts well with the crunch of pickled onion and mild salsa verde.
Before we leave, I take a few minutes to check out the inside. Up front, a marble-top bar looks inviting even at noon on a Sunday. There are original details everywhere, from the stained-glass door to the chef’s counter in the back. I can almost hear the sounds of a the bustling dining room on a busy Saturday night.
Someone keeps coming out to check on us, and when we want to finish our Micheladas on the lawn in the sun, they don’t think twice. “Of course, stay as long as you like.”