A conversation about Rosebud’s Steak and Seafood House typically includes, “I’ve never been but they seem to do a booming business—their parking lot is always full.” Their parking lot is always full and I discovered why on a recent visit to this 18-year-old establishment.

Founder/owner Mike Kodra began his restaurant career in Chicago in 1965. He and his two sons, Rick, who is the chef, and Bill, opened Rosebud’s in 1995 continuing the tradition of a true restaurant family. We were welcomed and treated like family on the night of our visit. Our server, Megan, couldn’t have been more delightful.

At 7:30 on a Tuesday night, the large restaurant was packed but we were seated immediately. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, featuring brick-accented walls, wood wainscoting, a fireplace and bare wood tables. We settled comfortably into our corner table, from which I had a view of both dining areas. The diners that night skewed older—maybe it does most nights—but this is a spot for everybody. Don’t be afraid to take your kids or grandkids because they do have an extensive children’s menu.

Speaking of extensive menus, Rosebud’s offers so many choices it was difficult to make decisions. The Brie in Phyllo ($7.99) with raspberry and almonds was a tempting appetizer as was the hand-breaded Firecracker Shrimp ($8.99) tossed in Buffalo sauce with red onion, scallions, diced bell peppers, Gorgonzola cheese and cream. We ordered Rosebud’s Signature Sizzling Garlic Shrimp ($8.99) which is Gulf shrimp sautéed in garlic, herbs and lemon butter with garlic toast served in a sizzling skillet. The shrimp were huge, sizzling hot (obviously) and blow-your-mind delicious. Dipping the garlic toast into the skillet to soak up the garlic butter goodness was a heavenly treat and a far better option than licking the plate.

The entrée selections are numerous as well, including steaks and prime rib, veal, chicken, ribs and chops, seafood and pasta. There were so many items I wanted to try I finally had to just pick one and promise myself a return to Rosebud’s. On the list of dishes under consideration: Land, Sea & Gulf ($24.99) which involves an eight ounce sirloin, a crab cake and two fried shrimp; Chicken Fontina ($16.99) which is sautéed with garlic, white wine, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and Fontina cheese; Twin Lobster Tails ($39.99) at eight ounces each served with drawn butter and lemon wedges; and Honey Walnut Prawns ($17.99) sautéed with garlic, honey, orange sesame sauce, shredded carrots, candied walnuts, scallions, onion, red bell pepper served over rice. Yes, we passed on those and ordered Broiled Sea Scallops ($18.99) and Center Cut Pork Chops ($16.99).

The scallops are done with fresh garlic, white wine, extra virgin olive oil and seasoned bread crumbs. They were plump, tender and sweet and I was slightly envious that this was my companion’s meal and not mine, they were prepared so well. The chops—two of them—were absolutely enormous and a joke was made about me being hungry. I tried to ignore the kidding as I admired the lovely grill marks on the thick loin cuts and the scent of the accompanying cinnamon apples reached my nostrils. The pork was tender and juicy and was served au jus.

Our entrees were offered with a choice of tossed or Caesar salad and choice of baked potato, steak fries, linguini marinara or vegetable of the day. We had Caesar salads which came with anchovies if you desire; we desired and had them brought on the side. You may know by now I adore a good Caesar and this one proved to be exceptional. The veggie of the day was sugar snap peas with roasted red peppers, another home run on my plate. Even though our meal choices delivered a lot of food, we couldn’t resist adding a side of Fresh Wilted Spinach ($3.00) with garlic butter which displayed a beautiful bright green color and incredible flavor.

Sadly, we didn’t “leave room” for dessert but that didn’t stop me from drooling over the options: Crème Brulee, Cannoli, Key Lime Pie, Double Chocolate Cake, Mile High Carrot Cake and Sugar-Free Cheesecake. Next time, for sure.

I actually did return to Rosebud’s one night around 8:00 but there was an hour wait, which would have been well worth it had I not been starving. I checked their charming lounge for open seating—the full menu is available in the lounge—but that was full as well. This is a great cozy spot to hang out with friends for happy hour from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., when they offer 2-for-1 wells and house wines.

If you have a pre-conceived notion of what Rosebud’s offers, as I discovered many people do, clear that from your mind right now and head over for dinner as soon as you can. You’ll be more than pleasantly surprised and you certainly will not leave hungry.

2215 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey

941.918.8771

rosebudssarasota.com

Open 4–10 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday; closed Mondays

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