International, upscale Mexican food chain, Rosa Mexicano has boldly dropped a location into the One Market building of downtown San Francisco. Although the whopping 211-seater is the 16th branch of the New York-based business, their people are playing to local sensibilities: saying the decor has a "San Francisco vibe," and reminding us that newish culinary consultant Jonathan Waxman (of Top Chef Masters/Barbuto fame) is a Bay Area native. There are also hyper-local touches on the menu like 4505 Meats chorizo stuffed into figs and Mary's air-chilled chicken in the tortilla pie.
Are these extras enough for Rosa Mexicano to survive among the city's 200-plus places serving Mexican food? And are the frozen and "skinny" margaritas any good? The Early Word tackles this and so much more.
The Booze News: On the wine, an anonymous Eater SF commenter observes: "Just four local wines, and they're the four most expensive? I'll have a frozen pomegranate margarita and the check, please." Conversely, Yelper Susan P. gave five stars to the libations, and said, "They have an expansive drink menu?and the drinks were all made with care. Their famous blended pomegranate margarita was tasty."
The Chain News: "Rosa Mexicano should be a hit with the FiDi crowd," predicts Inside Scoop's Janny Hu. "Say all you want about it being a chain, but service, at least post-dinner rush, was spot-on for an opening night visit." On the contrary, an Eater commenter sarcastically exclaims, "What a grand idea! New York style Mexican food. Has anything ever been less needed on the dining scene?" In addition, an OpenTable diner laments her experience: "Being a native New Yorker, I was soooo excited that Rosa Mexicano was opening here?This new menu is haute Mexican cuisine—something that Rosa Mexicano of NY was not. While the guacamole was still off the charts; the rest of the rather limiting menu was not that appealing."
The Guacamole News: An OpenTable diner writes, "The chunky guacamole alone was worth the stop with a very good selection of beer." Yelper Susan P. elaborates on the benefits of tableside service: "The avocados were fresh and delicious, as well as the only other few ingredients they added to make one of the best guacamole I've had in a while. It was served with some freshly made tortillas and chips and their two house made salsas. [sic]" On the contrary, Yelper, Christina L. agrees, comparing it to another national chain: "For $14, it was no better than the much cheaper tableside prepared fresh guac of Chevy's." Ouch.
The Other Food News: Thrillist recommends saving room for the "tequila-braised short ribs and crazy tacos like a diver scallop pork belly (with spicy orange-habanero salsa), and duck confit with roasted pear and chile salsa." Furthermore, SF Gate's Janny Hu also recommends the tacos: "Try a selection of tacos—fillings range from surf-and-turf to locally-foraged mushrooms." On the dessert, Yelper Hamid A. sings praises of the churros: "It was by far, the best Churros I've had. Very well prepared and delicious. Melts in your mouth. [sic]"
The Price News: Inside Scoop's Janny Hu provides a balanced perspective: "Yes, it's pricey, especially compared to Nopalito, but it appeals to a different audience with its location, decor and set-up, including the outdoor patio, tequila-centric bar and lavish dining room." On the flipside, an anonymous OpenTable diner wrote in a four-star review that, "The food is excellent, on par with NY, however the drinks are too pricey for SF and brought our bill up so much, not sure we will run back." And Yelper Eddie W. reviews his bill: "4 drinks and two 'appetizers' brought our bill to $80+ Holy COW!"
Got more feedback on Rosa Mexicano? To the comments!