Nick's Picks: Roux
As a broke 23-year-old with an unrefined palate, French food is intimidating. I automatically think snails, menu items I can’t pronounce, white table cloths, stuffy service, and an expensive check. Luckily for me, Roux on Park Avenue helped dispel these preconceived notions.
An unassuming exterior precedes Roux’s dining room, where patrons are transported back in time to 1920s France, á la Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris. Roux is dimly lit and decorated with warm colors like burgundy, maroon, and brown, making for a cozy, intimate atmosphere. Smooth jazz music, wooden furniture, a beautiful polished wooden bar, and elegant lighting fixtures add to the step back in time feel.
For drinks, Roux has a vast selection of wine and absinthe, as well as a variety of delicious cocktails. The Frenchie, which is especially delicious, is made with vodka, lemon, honey, cuvee, and served with a dollop of lavender sorbet. The honey and lemon juxtapose wonderfully to create bitter, yet sweet notes in this crisp, refreshing concoction.
Roux’s lunch menu features French classics that I admittedly cannot pronounce, but once broken down, are very recognizable to an unsophisticated American’s palate. Take for example, the Croque Monsieur, which consists of French ham, dijon, gruyere, and sauce mornay on a brioche bun. In the crudest possible terms, this is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, but elevated to a mouthwatering level.
Fans of Vietnamese cuisine will find a recognizable item on Roux’s lunch menu as well, Banh mi. This sandwich is the product of French colonial rule in Vietnam during the 19th century. After being introduced to the baguette by the French, the Vietnamese made their own creation by adding proteins, pickled vegetables, and different condiments to the roll. As hundreds of thousands Vietnamese came to the United states in the 1970’s to escape communism, the Banh mi was introduced to American gastronomy. The most conventional modern version of Banh mi is roasted pork, pate, and pickled vegetables on a French baguette. Roux’s version of this French, Vietnamese mash-up includes pork terrine, ham, cilantro, pickled carrot, and cucumber with Sriracha aioli on a baguette.
For the most stubborn of diners, Roux even offers an unmistakable American classic on their lunch menu, a cheeseburger, served with house pickle, aioli, tomato jam, and bibb lettuce on a brioche bun. Bacon and a fried egg can be added for $2.00.
Rotating lunch specials are also available at Roux. One of the most appealing specials is breaded oysters. Fresh, flavorful oysters are accentuated by a perfectly savory breading mix. A warm baguette to add crunch and to mop up any oyster remains makes the perfect sidekick to this meal.
Even with spectacular ingredients and magnificent tastes, Roux’s prices are extremely reasonable. Breaded oysters, a baguette, and The Frenchie cocktail came in at $24.84.
Whether you are a Francophile or a novice to French cuisine, Roux is a can’t miss dining destination.
Visit rouxparkave.com for menus, hours, reservations, and more.
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