When long-time friend and childhood swim teammate from El Paso, Shannon, and I planned to grab dinner one evening, I said I was up for anything. She replied, “I’m kind of really craving this salad from Carmine’s, want to go there?”. I obviously agreed. So, we met at Carmine’s Clamhouse on Rush in the Gold Coast, and instantly, I was greeted by Danny, our clearly experienced, attentive waiter (notice, I remembered his name?) who you could tell was dedicated to make sure we had the most memorable meal possible. In fact, when we ordered the steamed mussels, he asked us if we preferred white wine or spicy red sauce, but then quickly followed with his strong recommendation for the spicy red sauce (well, really, he didn’t accept no for an answer). And, he was right. They were spectacular. In fact, I could have been happy with the mussels and a glass of wine as my dinner.
I mean, how can you not be invited into those shells? These spicy mussels have muscles, friends. In other words, they’re not as delicate as they may seem. They have power on the plate. Okay, I’ll just say it, they have chutzpah! There was such a flavorful kick, you can’t help but dig your spoon and mini fork in for more. I didn’t capture a photo of the scrumptious, crunchy, peppery, savory, and sweet salad that Danny had chopped up for us with pan-fried eggplant, tomatoes, mozzarella, and heaps of arugula, drizzled with clearly aged sweet and thick balsamic vinegar. In fact, I enjoyed the remainder for the two days following our dinner since the portion was so generous. Consider sharing this if, I mean when, you order it!
We barely touched the tip of the arugula, I mean iceberg (bad lettuce joke) when it comes to the comforting Italian menu with pastas and classic dishes, so I can’t wait to revisit. And, I’m eager to try others in the Rosebud restaurant family. After reading the history, I’m amazed to learn of the Rosebud restaurants’ history that after 35 years, there are 10 restaurants, two steakhouses and eight authentic Italian restaurants, and the owner, Alex Dana, started the first when he was 26 years old! This food was clearly born out of passion. Ciao down at Carmine’s Clamhouse!