FARGO — When someone drops $48 on a braised lamb shank, it raises a question: Other than the lamb shank, what does anyone reasonably expect for that kind of money?

It’s a decision that goes beyond, “What do you feel like tonight?” There’s a space between the cost of the food and the end price that needs to be filled with something and, most often, that’s service, ambiance or an experience that goes well beyond dinner. Rosewild tries to fill that space.

It’s something entirely new to Fargo, and some of the ambiance comes from its location right in the heart of downtown in the new RDO Building, the tallest building in Fargo. Rosewild’s enormous windows look out onto the public square, currently an ice rink, and bring the city into the dining room with the business on Broadway, the nighttime ambiance of what has become an au courant city, and all the neon and sparkle that comes with that.

You might expect to bump into Jay Gatsby or one’s endocrinologist with a chardonnay in hand.

Part of the dining room at Rosewild in downtown Fargo. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic
Part of the dining room at Rosewild in downtown Fargo. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic

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The atmosphere, inside, is sleek and angular with a lot of hard surfaces. When it fills up, it can be loud and feel a bit crowded. Instead of warm, it’s cool in the Gucci sense of the word. If you’re looking for tablecloths and intimacy to go with your $33 coulotte steak, you won’t find it there.

And the coulotte steak, by the way, is exceptional. Done according to the textbook to your order, it’s a good example of the care taken in selection, preparation and presentation. It’s served with a smear of whipped potatoes, caramelized onions and leek ash, which is one of those peculiar ingredients that sets Rosewild apart.

Coultette steak ($33) at Rosewild. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic
Coultette steak ($33) at Rosewild. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic

OTHER RESTAURANT REVIEWS:

The unique flavors come from attention to the detailed seasoning and unique ingredients, such as the bone marrow served with the roast sturgeon ($32). Roasted in coals, it comes with roasted parsnips and apples. It joins other autumnal flavors to make up a menu that is seasonal, local, oddly familiar and, at the same time, distinctive.

The menu is manageable and leans heavily to seasonings. Sturgeon, for example, is a mild fish, and mild seasonings mixed with temperature control gives the dish an overall sense of being complete.

Roast sturgeon ($32) at Rosewild. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic
Roast sturgeon ($32) at Rosewild. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic

The same thing happens in the lamb shank, a much heartier dish with a much more flavor-forward approach to seasoning and sides, with red cabbage and a hard-to-decipher salad at the center. The dishes don’t shy away from salt, which has its place among autumn flavors.

The wine list is short but complete with reasonable prices. The dessert menu is brief and includes what has become common on high-end menus in the Midwest — some take on s'mores. In this case, it’s a s'more pop ($9) with a frozen ganache center, which loses some of its charm being frozen.

Service is very good. Our server was well-versed in the menu, listened and made good suggestions. As the dining room fills up, you find a steady flow of different servers with food and water making their way though cramped quarters. You may lose track of the server you started with.

A s'more pop ($9) at Rosewild. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic
A s'more pop ($9) at Rosewild. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic

Rosewild is a hotel dining room with an attached bar and all the hubbub that comes with that. It’s part of a growing vibrancy that comes with a newly conceived downtown and, if a $48 lamb shank fits into your picture of that urban landscape, it’s a very good place to experience that.

A view inside Rosewild in downtown Fargo. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic
A view inside Rosewild in downtown Fargo. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic

Rosewild

Where: 215 Broadway N., Fargo

Cuisine: American

Hours: Dining room is open 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; food and drinks are also available in the lounge, and cafe hours and weekend brunches are also offered

Phone: 701-532-5170

Alcohol: full bar

Reservations accepted: yes

Online: https://jasperfargo.com/rosewild/

Ratings (out of 4)

Food: 3.5 stars

Service: 4 stars

Ambiance: 3.5 stars

Bison tartar at Rosewild. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic
Bison tartar at Rosewild. Eric Daeuber / Forum food critic

Eric Daeuber is an instructor at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. Readers can reach him at food@daeuber.com.