Flame: Not the Usual Mall Restaurant

photo by Denis Jeong

I stopped by for lunch at Flame at the Rosedale Mall. I
might be biased, because the owners the same people who own Mission American
, Atlas Grill, and Via are friends of mine, but I liked it. It isn’t
the place I would go if I were planning an intimate bistro dinner by
candlelight, but then again, if I were in Roseville and looking for an intimate
bistro dinner, I would be plain out of luck. There is a whole row of
restaurants on the back end of Rosedale, and what stands out about Flame is
that it is the only one that isn’t a chain restaurant — California Pizza
Kitchen, Big Bowl, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Granite City, Chipotle, Potbelly.

(Note to readers: I just previewed the published version of this blog post, and it looks like the odds are pretty good that you will be looking at this positive write-up of Flame side-by-side with an ad for Flame, which might lead you to conclude that there was some kind of connection between the two. There isn’t.)

Flame does follow the mall restaurant formula, right down to
the logos and uniforms, but it actually has more personality than its
cookie-cutter neighbors. The theme is "cooking with fire," so I expected to see
meat on spits, but instead the fire-roasting theme is
symbolically represented by a row of roaring gas torches, mounted above the
open kitchen. The fire-roasted meats are a legacy of the Atlas, where chef Abbas
Shahbazi serves delicious Persian-inspired beef and lamb kabobs, as well as fish and
chicken, fire-roasted over a 1200 degree grill.

The menu is basically updated meat-and-potatoes, with a
smattering of other flavors. The starters include a ceviche made with grilled
shrimp and smoked scallops ($8.95), and a barbecued shrimp skillet in a creamy
barbecue sauce with grilled baguette ($8.95). There are a couple of pasta
entrees as well: pappardelle with smoked chicken and crimini mushrooms
($12.95), and penne marinara with bacon and fresh tomatoes ($10.95)

Prices are very reasonable: On the dinner menu, except for
the $21.95 filet mignon, everything is under $20, and there are a lot of
choices for under $15, including the half rotisserie chicken ($12.95), broiled
Alaskan cod ($13.95), and eight-hour pot roast ($14.95). The rotisserie
chicken, roast beef and baby-back ribs are all offered as platters for four,
six or eight ($49.95 / $77.95/ $99.95 for dinner; less for lunch) with 2-4 side
dishes, which works out to less than $13 per person (or less than $11 per
person for lunch). The lunch menu is similar, with lower prices, fewer steaks
and an expanded list of burgers and sandwiches, most under $10.

I enjoyed my
lunchtime plate of rotisserie beef ($11.95 lunch / $13.95 dinner) juicy
slices of slow-roasted beef, served with a choice of two sides; I opted for
the green beans and cheddar hashbrowns
and took home enough for an ample lunch the next day.

Flame is one of the few non-chain restaurants that will
participate in the Rotary Club of Roseville’s first annual Taste of Rosefest on
Thursday, June 26, in the Muriel Sahlin
Arboretum. Other participants include Ol’ Mexico, Old Chicago, Axel’s
Charhouse, Baker’s Square, Schroeder’s Bar & Grill, the Outback Steakhouse,
and a bunch more. For a complete list and other details, visit www.taste-of-rosefest.com, or call