Living up to the Rosen family name at 256 North
Rosen’s 256 North has gone through a plethora of changes since first opening in March 2017, including the recent addition of a new chef, a fine-tuning of the menu and a subtle but distinct rebranding. What remains the same is owner Jan Rosen’s touches, like the simple elegance of her dining room, and her old-school generosity, both with her attention and the dining experience.
Although started as simply 256 North, which is the restaurant’s address along Petaluma Boulevard North, the “Rosen” branding has become more conspicuous as of late, to the point that longtime fans are now simply referring to it as “Rosen’s.” The Rosen name is known throughout Sonoma County for great food and hospitality, whether referring to Rosen’s world-famous cheesecakes, or any of the restaurants that Jan has operated throughout Sonoma County, including Petaluma’s Rosen’s Eastside Grill, Salad Mill and J.M. Rosen’s Waterfront Grill. However, the new Rosen’s is quietly setting its sights on replacing her most popular past restaurant, the silver service icon, J.M. Rosen, which used to reside at Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square.
Where other restaurants pride themselves on being fancy, at Rosen’s it is the experience, along with the great food, that makes a visit special. Jan and her crew go out of their way to make sure that new visitors and regulars alike have a great dining experience. In fact, Rosen’s has quickly become our favorite location for special events, or even just a quick dinner on the town, because we know that even the most simple of dishes is going to be excellent, and the staff is going to take care of us.
Finding good servers, especially to cover such a vast restaurant, is quite a challenge these days, but we are starting to see regular faces around Rosen’s who seem to be up to the task. Whether it is Amy at the bar, servers Teddie, Jazmin or Chris, or a quick check in from manager Billie, the staff makes everyone feel welcome.
Another thing to cherish about Rosen’s is the dining room’s multiple seating options, from the huge bar, to high-top tables, to dining room seating, to booths, to a banquet room for your business meetings and holiday lunches. Even when only half-full (equal to the same number of diners at any other restaurant in Petaluma at full capacity), or when there is a live band performing, the large site allows for the tables to be well spaced, which means even in the middle of the dining room, you have plenty of privacy with your dinner companions. Along with the benefit of not feeling claustrophobic, the size of the restaurant means that even when fully booked, you will never feel rushed to finish your meal.
It must be said that no visit to Rosen’s is complete without a sampling of J.M. Rosen’s cheesecakes. Although not a cheesecake, the one cake that always requires a reorder at our table is the Italian lemon mascarpone, along with a glass or two of port.
Rosen’s has a respectable happy hour from 3-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 3-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. With prices ranging from $3-$7 for food and $2-$6 for drinks, this is one of our favorite happy hours in town. Three standout items are the prime rib sliders, shrimp roll and Jan’s famous egg salad crostini. The sliders are surprisingly tender and juicy, even for prime rib. The shrimp roll is perfectly sweet, with a butter-grilled bread that takes it to the next level. The egg salad crostini’s capers complement the saltiness of the smoke salmon topping.