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    Eat & Swig

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    Everyone has their “if-given-the-chance…” celebrity crush. My celebrity crush is New Orleans: if given the chance, it’s the only city for which I’ll ever leave Louisville. I love the people, the sticky humidity, the music, the rowdy bars, the food. Oh, the food in New Orleans: fresh barbecue shrimp, charbroiled oysters, fluffy beignets dusted with powdered sugar, jambalaya with dark, tangy umami-ridden undertones.

    Dustin Staggers shares my appreciation for all things New Orleans. Hot off his success revitalizing the Monkey Wrench, he’s opening Roux Louisville to the public this weekend. Included in the team at Roux are Staggers’ brother Kyle, Dara Staggers, Griffin Paulin and Ethan Ray. I was fortunate enough to attend one of Roux’s soft openings last night and let me be the first to tell you: make a reservation. ASAP.

    The atmosphere and decoration of the place bears first mention. The walls are covered in pictures of New Orleans (Kyle Staggers took a “work trip” to NOLA to capture the images) and decorated with Scott Winskye’s flowing, mysteriously-toned artwork. Bright colors and New Orleans-specific accents (Mardi Gras masks and beads, skulls, a foreboding raven etched on the bathroom door) make restaurant eclectic without being cluttered, themed without being kooky.

    We began our evening at Roux with a trip to the upstairs bar. The cocktail list has NOLA classics: the Sazerac ($8) has rye, cognac, bitters, and absinthe; the Hurricane ($10) rum, Galliano, lime, orange pineapple and bitters; frozen Irish coffee ($8) is also available, among other craft cocktails.

    A note: the Horseshoes & Hand Grenades ($10) is about the size of a small barrel, so make sure you have a DD if you order it.

    Service was brisk, and friendly, brassy music played, the crowd was excited. We sampled the oyster bar with charbroiled (with clarified butter and Pecorino Romano) fried and fresh shucked oysters.

    Our meal continued with tomato salad ($8) with country ham, goat cheese and fried anchovies, as a fine green start to the meal; and she crab soup ($8) was close to my favorite dish of the night. Shrimp picante ($14) and New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp ($16) made excellent use of fresh seafood (shipped in daily from the Louisiana Seafood Company). Boudin Balls ($14) are basically roasted pork and rice hush puppies, and will make exceptional winter comfort food. Blackened redfish with spiced tomato boullabaise ($17) was tender and attractively presented.

    At the end of the meal came our favorite part: bananas foster cheesecake and several small beignets. Though several in our party don’t even like cheesecake, we fought for the last bite of the tangy, brightly flavored dessert. The beignets will be sold from the back window of Roux in the mornings; expect them to become the new office treat and hangover cure.

    This restaurant is a work of art, but it’s also a labor of love. Dustin, Kyle and Dara Staggers, Ethan Ray, Griffin Paulin, and the rest of the staff at Roux have crafted a entirely delightful experience. Their grand opening is this weekend, and there are still spots available. You can visit their website here, their facebook here, and their twitter here.

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    Elizabeth Myers's picture

    About Elizabeth Myers

    Big fan of bacon and bourbon, deep fried anything, sweet tea and sweet nothings.

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