For the longest time, the GF and I thought Rose Tattoo was an actual tattoo parlor. Upon closer inspection once we moved a block away, we realized it was a cafe. So for dinner one night, we decided to pop in.
It's creatively designed inside, with plenty of seating. The central bar is strewn with plants and lights to create an indoor-garden vibe.
Apologies in advance for the cell phone pics!
Fleur de California, CA
The GF went with prototypically creamy California chardonnay.
Bulleit, St. Germain, orange peel
Rose Tattoo's riff on the Manhattan came out stiff and enjoyable, with a nice balance with the undertones of the elderflower liquer along with the bitters of the citrus rind and the sweet, sweet bourbon.
The bread was cold, but I appreciated that the butter was room temperature for easy spreading.
Crispy Calamari [$13]
Chipotle tomato salsa, remoulade, garlic lemon basil aioli
I was hungry so decided to go with two apps. The calamari were expertly fried and decently seasoned. It came with a troika of sauce, of which the somewhat smoky and spicy remoulade was my favorite.
Pan Seared Provolone [$12.50]
Grilled tomato, toasted ciabatta, baby arugula, aged balsamic vinaigrette
The pan seared provolone was a bit hard to eat with the ciabatta underneath. Even after receiving a steak knife, it was a bit of a bear to cut through the tough bread. Still, the provolone had a great crust on it, with the creaminess of the cheese marrying well with the acidity of the grilled tomato and aged balsamic. Get rid of the bread, add some fried prosciutto, and you've got a winner!
Diver Sea Scallops [$28]
Pan seared scallops, fingerling potatoes, sauteed baby leeks, applewood smoked bacon, scallop butter sauce
For her main, the GF went with scallops. A generous portion justified the price, with a wonderful sear on the well-seasoned bivalves. The essence of the sweet scallops was evident in the butter sauce as well, with some nice acidity coming through from the tomato and crisp bacon to provide some heft to each bite.
House cut pappardelle, sausage, short rib bolognese, cremini mushrooms
Poorly photographed, the pasta was clearly freshly made. However, with rather uneven chunks of short rib and sausage interspersed throughout and a generally soupy bolognese sauce, this ate a bit clunky. I did enjoy the garlic bread however.
Graham cracker crust, lemon curd, meringue, strawberry sauce
On the way in, we noticed an array of sweets on display. So I couldn't help myself but try out their cheese cake. The graham crust crust underneath was a bit tough. However, it was buttery and delicious, especially when juxtaposed with the creamy cheesecake. This was topped with lemon meringue and a drizzle of sweet strawberry sauce provided additional sweetness to each bite.
While there were some missteps, overall Rose Tattoo delivered on its promise of seasonal American fare and seems to be a decent option in the Fairmount area.