Throughout the year, Restaurant Editor Bill Addison will travel the country to chronicle what's happening in America's dining scene and to formulate his list of the essential 38 restaurants in America. Follow his progress in this travelogue/review series, The Road to the 38, and check back at the end of the year to find out which restaurants made the cut.
The practical one in our group had tried her best to corral us. She told us to show up by 5:50 p.m. on this Friday evening if we wanted to snag a spot at Rose's Luxury right away. Otherwise, who knew how long the wait would be. Maybe 30 minutes. Maybe four hours. We did not heed her. She texted us at 5:48: Six tables left. Two of us showed up at 6:10. Too late—the restaurant was already full. By the time the fourth arrived at 6:30, the rest of us were already down the block at Belga Cafe, nursing Trappist ales. The bartender there saw dawdlers like us nightly. At 7:15 a hostess at Rose's reached out to tell us that our table awaited. A little over an hour? Not bad. We lucked out.