Earlier this year my parents visited me in Jersey and we hit up Garlic Rose, a restaurant I'd been dying to try for far too long. Located at 41 Main Street in Madison, New Jersey, Garlic Rose is BYOB, so we brought along a nice bottle of French malbec (my favorite type of wine). This cute bistro was packed to the brim on this Friday night and the scent of garlic filled the dining room, whetting our appetites for dinner.
First off, I just have to say that lots of restaurants bring out bread and oil or butter before your dinner begins, but at Garlic Rose this simple snack is taken to a new level. The bread was soft and warm and the dipping sauce was exceptional. It’s basically a super garlicky pesto sauce, and it tastes phenomenal when drizzled over the bread. I could have been happy just eating this standard fare.
But of course there were many more dishes to try! For one of our appetizers we ordered the Garlicious Escargots—snails served out of shell and sautéed with onions, shitake mushrooms, and basil in a red wine garlic veloute sauce. The snails were cooked perfectly and melted in the mouth with the delightful flavors of the accompanying sauce.
We also tried the Artichoke Hearts Del Destino, which are egg-battered hearts sautéed with capers and red peppers in a roasted garlic lemon and veloute sauce. These were thankfully not battered too heavily and were perfect for sharing between us although I did prefer the escargot.
From the specials menu my mom ordered Shrimp Oreganato. This entrée consisted of shrimp topped with garlic orgenanato breadcrumbs that were broiled in a white wine, lemon, and butter sauce and was served with seasoned yellow rice. Also from the specials menu my dad ordered St. Peter’s Fish Fra Diablo, which consisted of Tilapia topped with a spicy garlic tomato sauce with hot cherry peppers, roasted red peppers, onions, fresh basil, and oregano. It was also served with seasoned yellow rice. This dish had a really nice level of intense heat and spiciness.
I opted for the Center Cut Frenched Rib Pork Chop. This 12 oz. center cut frenched rib pork chop was broiled to medium doneness in a garlic marinade, topped with a red wine demiglaze, and accompanied with caramelized Fuji apples and Gilroy potatoes. I thoroughly enjoyed this entrée. The pork chop was cooked just right, but the real gem of this dish was the caramelized apples. They added a slightly sweet delightful accompaniment to the pork that was all tied together with the red wine demiglaze. In fact, the sauces on all the dishes we tried were phenomenal—Garlic Rose must have a superb saucier.
Although we were full and satisfied after these appetizers and entrees we couldn’t resist trying the Garlic Ice Cream from the dessert menu. I’ve heard that such a thing exists but had yet to try it. This ice cream was exploding with garlic flavor. There was a very interesting play between the heat and intensity of the garlic juxtaposed with the cool sweetness of the ice cream that made this dessert particularly addictive. It was surprising that the most garlicky item we tasted was the dessert, but it was delicious and any garlic lover should definitely try it out at some point.
I’d been waiting quite a while to eat at Garlic Rose and it definitely lived up to my expectations. If you find yourself in the town of Madison then it’s well worth it to try out this garlicious bistro.