Rosemary’s Restaurant is closed.
That’s undoubtedly the toughest sentence I’ve had to write in my fledging career. To me, chef Michael Jordan’s Rosemary’s will always be substantially more than just a restaurant. It’s been a veritable home away from home, albeit a home with the greatest andouille-crusted duck confit ever.
When my wife and I first bought in Vegas, we were within walking distance of Rosemary’s. Even being that close, visits were sporadic. The special occasions on which we would visit inevitably ended with the contemplative, “Why don’t we eat here more often?” As time passed, we did and never asked the question again.
Fortunate to become regulars, we grew accustomed to a menu that seemingly never changed—one of the primary criticisms raised against chef Mike. I’d argue defensively, why mess with something that’s been working for so long? Tourists flitted to the nondescript Stein Mart shopping center in droves; the restaurant was a locals’ darling.
In 1999, when Jordan left Emeril’s for an off-Strip eatery people scoffed. For over a decade, he proved them wrong, and he remains a pioneer and inspiration for Strip chefs looking to make Vegas home—talented folks who dream of their own Rosemary’s.
But, inevitably perhaps, this horrid economy got the best of him. First lunches disappeared; more recently early weekdays went dark and now … this. With neither pomp nor circumstance Rosemary’s served its last Hugo’s Texas BBQ Shrimp on Sunday. No one even knew.
Chef Mike and crew deserve a better sendoff than this quiet closing. Hell, they deserve any sendoff, and Las Vegas foodies deserve a final opportunity to enjoy the restaurant’s classic dishes.
To the chef and the crew, know that we’re all going to miss you. And wherever you end up, please be sure to let me know, so I can get that duck confit.