Rosa Mexicano

Have you ever felt a certain way about something, and then you realize that your feelings are all based on a faulty perception? Or maybe, you thought something was one thing when it was in fact another?

I have been to Rosa Mexicano multiple times with different people, and until recently I would say it was one of my favorite restaurants in DC. It’s fun, the atmosphere is lively, and it has a good bar. Nevermind the fact that service is always pretty slow and that sometimes it can be overly crowded, right? I mean, hell, I hated guacamole until I had the table-side guac here at Rosa. Now I can’t get enough of it.

Well, upon my most recent trip to Rosa, my perception of the restaurant somewhat changed. Usually I am a stickler for service at restaurants, and sometimes poor service can really spoil an otherwise nice dinner. Regardless, even though in the past I always had slow service at Rosa, I still raved about it. I’ve always ordered the same thing, the Tablones, which until this past time has always been phenomenal. Even more important, I’ve always had a good time.

On this last visit, however, when I was dining with my husband and his parents, I stopped seeing this restaurant through more or less rose colored glasses, and all of the flaws that I had ignored before started coming to the forefront. I’ve already hit on the slow service, which was particularly bad this time around. What was particularly annoying this time (and which I later realized that I had experienced before) was the incredible slowness on getting drinks from the bar. I also alluded to the fact that my much raved about Tablones were less than par. In fact, I got an atrocious cut of meat and could eat about only half of my meal. Even so, this still didn’t bother me so much at dinner. Was I trying to convince myself to have a good time and ignore these flaws, so that the restaurant I had held up as so good wouldn’t actually be bad? Was I trying to preserve some sort of image for myself? Another crushing blow was the desserts. I had tried the sundae before, and even though I didn’t really like it the first time around, I thought I wouls give it a second chance. Yet again, however, I was disappointed, and the sundae bowl was so hot (presumably right out of the dishwasher) that my ice cream melted almost instantaneously. If you know me, I love ice cream, and this was almost the last straw.

The final blow to Rosa came the day after I ate there. I’m pretty much an anti-chain snob and always profess that I refuse to eat at chain restaurants, so you can imagine how I felt when Jay told me that Rosa had multiple locations in New York. Instantly I thought of the Pace Picante commercials. New York City!? I also felt like a complete idiot. I had told SO many people that I absolutely LOVED this place, and here I was, professing my love for a chain restaurant.

Ouch.

Maybe I was brought in by the flashiness of Rosa. The first time I ever went there, I actually just sat at the bar. I still think the bar is great, and I love the margaritas and tequila selection the place has, and maybe I will revisit just that small section of the restaurant. Nevertheless, my love affair with the restaurant itself is over. I wouldn’t say that I feel cheated, more like embarassed for not seeing Rosa for what it actually is: a chain restaurant with bad service. At least you can order the tableside guac at the bar.

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