Eat it, Conway: Roux's Cajun Creole

Review No. 65: Roux’s Cajun Creole

 

2235 Dave Ward Drive

(501) 2235 Dave Ward Drive

33.9 percent finished reviewing Conway restaurants

 

The Situation

She Said: We’re not often the after-church lunchers who roll up on a restaurant to eat and drink, but on a recent Sunday, I decided we should be. I was curious about Roux’s after being made aware of it by an alert reader (thank you, dear reader!). So after communion, we went for Cajun food at Roux’s. They’d only been open for two weeks, and I wanted to go soon to avoid FOMO.

He Said: Yes, it’s important to check out the new places before we get scooped by some other blogger (You know who you are!).

We were forced to wait because of the after-church crowd, and maybe because the place is pretty new. We were told the wait would be around 15 minutes. Sometimes this is a lie to get you not to go away, which is why I am not a fan of waiting to get into a restaurant. In this case, though, the estimate was right on the money. Fifteen minutes after walking in the door, we were seated.

 

Ambience:

She Said: I remembered the one time we had been to this space’s previous iteration, The Draft, as we walked in and saw the way the large, open space was divided with a raised area near the front and booths and long, larger-party tables and smaller bistro tables throughout. Even though it’s a large space, it’s comfortable and welcoming and feels like a party is probably always going on. The salad bar and “hot bar” are on one wall, and the full bar is in the back (but not so far away that you can’t hear them shaking your martini from any table in the room).

I’m taking a page from your book, Ruud, and I’m going on a wee rant: We were seated at a two top near the railing of the raised front area. Everything was fine about this except the high, bistro table. I hate high tables. Maybe it’s because I’m a short, hobbit-type woman, but they are just uncomfortable and awkward to me. Why do restaurants choose these? Are there people—supermodels, maybe?—who enjoy them? I have to climb up to the seat, put my purse way beneath me on the floor or over the chair behind me, both placements prone to theft (this happened to friends of mine in the area). Every time I want to get down to pick up a napkin, or go to the ladies’ or whatever, I have to scoot or jump down whilst making sure to bring all of my skirt with me. I don’t get this. I hate it every time I’m put into this kind of restaurant seat. Restaurants, stop buying these first-world problem seating arrangements! But, I digress…

He Said:  Way to rant, Babe. I agree about the high chairs. Basically it’s a bar stool. Maybe they’re to give you the feeling that you’re sitting at a bar. But why would anybody want that feeling if s/he was sitting down to lunch or dinner? Weird.

But yeah, other than that the place is pleasant. I liked the large New Orleans-inspired murals on the walls and the understated jazz background music.

 

Drinks

She Said: Well, Roux’s has a full bar, and I wanted to “laissez les bon temps roulez,” and all that, so I went big (instead of going home) and had a cosmopolitan at 1 p.m. on a Sunday. Interestingly, Roux’s will not only card you, but our server took my driver’s license and had it scanned to make sure it was not a fake. They don’t play at Roux’s if you want a cocktail, so be prepared.

The cosmo was good, a little long on the cranberry juice and short on the vodka, but not much, and it was tasty. It was also full. I felt for the server carrying it all across that whole restaurant. I switched to cabernet after my cosmo, and it was nice, a fair pour. (They don’t have my favorite red wine, malbec).

He Said: They have Coke products here. So I had a Coke. I could have had a Dr. Pepper, but dang it, sometimes you just want the real thing.

 

Food

She Said: I decided to indulge…I mean, you don’t go to Cajun country to count calories! I’ve been to New Orleans, I know. After scanning the menu, I fixed on the shrimp remoulade po’ boy. What could be better than that? Our server warned me that they had had an issue with their bread that day, and that this would be served on a regular hamburger bun, not the usual French bread the dish usually includes. This comes with fries, which were delicious, and I was brought my usual mayonnaise for dipping.

The real star was the shrimp remoulade sandwich, even with the B-team bun. The shrimp was fried, but not heavy with coating, still tasty and fresh, even though battered. The sauce came on the side, which I thought was a thoughtful touch, but I poured every bit of it over the shrimp and fixin’s on the bun, and then I ate each molecule of that sandwich with pride and joy. I hope to return for the French-bread version, but I had no complaints about the dish I had. It was delicious.

He Said: This is definitely a difficult place for me. High-fat meals are anathema to me because of my chronic pancreatitis, which means deep fried stuff is right out, and so is red meat, particularly sausage. Rich sauces heavy with butter or cream are also a no-no. And I just don’t like shell fish. So that describes just about everything in the Cajun/creole gustatory world.

They do have one dish on the menu—a blackened catch-of-the-day–that would have been perfect, except it turns out it’s served with a sauce made of bacon and sausage, so no way I can get near that thing. Finally, my eyes alighted upon the blackened chicken alfredo which I grabbed at like a drowning man. I also ordered the Endless Garden Bar (they also have an “Endless Hot Bar,” which I might give a try next time).

The Chicken Alfredo turned out to be a really good choice. Blackened rather than fried, it was spicy but not too hot. The pasta was tender and tasty, with a sauce that, while probably full of fat, was not overpowering or too heavy—just enough to give it a rich taste without being overwhelming.

The “Endless Garden Bar” is called that, I assume, because it’s “all you can eat.” But the end of it actually comes pretty quickly, because there’s really not a lot to choose from. It’s just lettuce with a few (and I do mean few) other vegetables that can be added, and a very few choices of dressing. Maybe the “Hot Bar” has more interesting choices. Maybe not. The salad bar wasn’t a highlight.

 

Service

She Said: We strolled in there with our high-maintenance flag flying high, and our server, bless her heart, took it all in stride. First, there was the bun issue, which wasn’t my problem, but then, Ruud had troubles ordering and wanted the fish special but without the sauce. She went and talked to the kitchen to see what could be done. She was super friendly throughout, even though she was busy with the after-church crowd. I found the service to be professional, personable and welcoming in every way. Given that this restaurant has so recently opened, I was extra impressed.

He Said: Yes, the server was incredibly helpful and kept her good humor through all my ordering difficulties. She deserved a big tip. I hope you gave it to her.

She Said: I thought you paid the bill, Ruud?!

He Said: Dang, I hope one of us did!

 

What We Got and What We Paid: Shrimp remoulade po’boy, a cosmopolitan, a glass of cabernet, blackened chicken alfredo with garden bar, a Coke and carrot cake for $52.16.

 

Elapsed Time from Entry to Food Arrival: 45 minutes. Remember 15 minutes of that was waiting to be seated. The half-hour wait from seating might seem a little long, but remember the place was packed.

 

Rating:

She Said: I’d like to eat that shrimp remoulade sandwich again right now, so I will be returning to Roux’s for the food and the friendly service.

He Said: The blackened Chicken Alfredo was excellent. The salad bar was a yawner.

So…He Said and She Said: Go here to let the good times roll with tasty Cajun cuisine and friendly, professional service, but bring a healthy pancreas, and your ID.

Editor's Note: Eat It, Conway is produced by local author Jay Ruud and his wife (poet and novelist Stacey Margaret Jones). The couple has begun an attempt to eat at and review, every restaurant in Conway, Arkansas. The Log Cabin Democrat and thecabin.net are publishing Eat It, Conway with permission from the authors. Visit them online at jayruud.com and on Facebook at Eat It, Conway. In addition to restaurant reviews, Ruud authors movie reviews on the site. 

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