Thursday, April 3, 2008

Roux (NoPo)

It was an evening of crawfish pie, Pimm’s Cups, and the story of Minky the Deranged Homicidal Cat That Got Away, as Table For Twelve descended upon Roux Restaurant ( in North Portland last night for a taste of Chef Sean McKee’s spicy hot Creole cookin’.

The kitchen turned out plate after plate that made us swoon, although it also could have been the effects of Roux's inventive and well fleshed out cocktail list. Special correspondent April and I got to Roux a little early so we started the evening with a crawfish pie and a delightfully crisp $15 bottle of Happy Hour White Wine (don't ask me what it was, I don't care, it was $15! That's better than Bluehour's excellent $20 bottle of Happy Hour White Wine deal!). Having nearly developed carpal tunnel during one particularly obsessive month-long spate of smearing dough around in the proper French dough-blending technique, trying to develop the perfect pie crust, I was astounded by how light and flaky the shell on this topless modified pot pie-ish creation was. McKee revealed that pastry chef Melissa McKinney makes the crawfish pie crusts, and she uses cream cheese!

It was a truly memorable meal-- the gentle heat of the housemade andouille, the creamy spicy crawfish pie with its massive chunks of crawfish (which sort of reminds me of lobster), the salty smoky tasso-wrapped shrimp, the croque monsieur spinach salad with big shreds of tender ham, so on and so forth...Michelle, who is our more sophisticated palate and has a better attention span for dissecting the myriad of dishes we eat, is supposed to thoroughly discuss the food but she's in Mexico for a week (whatever!), so I'll just take the 'a picture says a thousand words' route on this one and let your eyes feast.

Crawfish Pie!

"Croque Monsieur" Salad--spinach, smoked ham hock, gruyere, creole mustard vinaigrette

Tasso-Wrapped Shrimp with pineapple mustard and cumin honey

Shrimp Bisque--so creamy and tasty and better than deep conditioner when spilled in one's hair, apparently

Gumbo Ya-Ya, which I got just so I could say "Gumbo Ya-Ya" a lot, like "Yes, I'll have the Gumbo Ya-Ya," and "My, this Gumbo Ya-Ya is facking fantastic," and "Would anybody like to try my Gumbo Ya-Ya?"

Grilled House-made Sausages--andouille, chaurice and boudin blanc with house pickles

Blackened Stuffed Trout--dungeness crab, rice pilaf, and lemon buerre blanc

Mac 'n Cheese

Pan Roasted Rabbit-cornbread and andouille stuffing, cane syrup glazed carrots and mustard jus

New Orleans Bouillabaisse--smoked oysters, mussels, shrimp, rockfish, roux's creole spice blend

Smoked Beef Short Ribs--this is some amazing meat on the bone, boy howdy

"You didn't order any vegetables," our server Raina said slightly reprovingly, "So the kitchen sent these out." Wow! Gene Thiel's roasted beets and turnips, sauteed brussels sprouts, and collard greens! Thanks Chef Sean McKee, you are the greatest! And you are super cute!

The food was amazing, it's true, but I would have to say that the real high point of the evening was when Michelle, who was hopped up on Pimm's Cups, loudly and enthusiastically regaled our table (and the rest of the tables too) with her tale of Minky--a small cat she adopted last year in an uncharacteristic fit of maternal weakness, then became terrified of when she discovered that Minky walked on her hind legs and had a nasty habit of trying to smother Michelle in her sleep several times a night. To be fair, Michelle also discovered she had cat allergies, but still, we all agreed it was rude to unceremoniously evict poor possessed little Minky. I sure hope Sam Adams and Christopher Stowell, who were spotted feasting at a nearby table, enjoyed the story too.

I had a grand time at this particular Table For Twelve, even though Michelle laughed at me when I spilled a spoonful of shrimp bisque in my hair and on my left shoulder, then said snidely, "It's okay sis, it's good for your hair. Remember when Mom used to wash our hair with bisque?"
Then when the Table For Twelve comment cards came around the table, I noticed that she had filled hers out as such:
What I liked the most about tonight: Me
What I liked least about tonight: Jen
What would you suggest for the next Table For Twelve?: No Jen.
She also said she'd gotten me a surprise present that day and since I love presents and surprises I was really excited, but then she smirkingly gave me my gift: a stinky plastic carton of petrified Thai food I left in her car last week. I had to embarrassedly ask the very nice bartender to throw it away.

Despite all these tribulations, Roux offered up a stellar Table For Twelve experience and was one of my (RUDE!) sis' and I's finest dining experiences of late and we will most certainly be returning, particularly for that mesmerizing crawfish pie and $15 bottle of Happy Hour White Wine.

Roux * 1700 N. Killingsworth St * * 503.285.1200 * Dinner every night 5 pm to 10 pm, Sunday Brunch 10 am to 2 pm, Happy Hour 4:30 - 6:30 pm, $15 bottles of wine, $3 off bar menu items! * yes, reservations, yes, get the gumbo ya-ya because it's fun to say, no, don't let your sister drink too many Pimm's cups and tell stories about her possessed cat

1 comment:

  1. Roux, ahhh, Roux. This dining experience was excellent...the crawfish pie was unbelievable. I agreed with Michelle when she said that it made her "catch her breath." Yes, it was that good. Although I must admit that I agree with Willamette Week that the biegnettes were really just like friend dough, the rest of the dining experience, from the ribs to the amazing vegetables to the service, and of course the cheesecake brought to us via Brian's coupon were absolutely excellent. Coming from a SW girl, I would make the drive to N Killingsworth any evening for another dining experience at this fabulous place.