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Restaurants & Bars 1

Rouge Review

secook11 | Jan 16, 2003 09:15 AM

Trying to be somewhat exact here, but can't remember all -- so caveat reader.

So three of us stumbled into Rouge last night from the freezing cold ... into a nice little haven that is the first room, bar/waiting area/extra dining space. We chose to sit in the main dining room, full at 8:30pm, so we plopped on the comfy couch near the entrance and waited for a table to open up. It was warm and cozy, with funky decor and some low-key zydeco playing. About 15 minutes (and some warming Jim Beam later) we were moved into the dining room. Funnily formal ivory silk-like wallpaper, a bench along the perimeter of the dining room forming one side of seating for the handful of tables. The dining room is long and narrow, brighter than the "ante-room" and loud, but the din is muffled a bit by the sound absorbers on the ceiling. Again, zydeco is faint.

Our server wasn't so hot. Just a little too busy, and all the kinks not worked out yet. We waited a while to be addressed, then a while to order, then a while for apps, then a while for dinner ... she forgot the side of pearl onion marmalade I had asked for (sounded good -- was with a fois gras appetizer, but I just wanted to try it; and it was good, when I got it.) The service wasn't unpleasant, everything just took a while.

For appetizers, we had a frisee salad with beets and walnuts (good, but unexceptional) and a pumpkin soup with smoked chile and honey. In my opinion, the soup needed a little more bite -- the honey made it pretty sweet -- but it was nice and creamy. Again, good, but unexceptional. We had some nice bread to begin with -- a corn muffin spiced with cumin (yum) and some white bread that was okay. Very yummy was the dip served with it -- lima bean, garlic and evoo puree.

For main courses, mom had the laquered pork shoulder with apples and cabbage. She didn't like. The pork tasted overly mustardy to me. The accompaniments weren't very distinct, the flavors sort of melded. Again, perfectly decent, but not my favorite. I had pecan crusted catfish with grits and wild mushroom ragu. The catfish was really good, bringing back memories of fried catfish in the Florida panhandle. Not piquant enough for me; but I could have eaten those dreamy grits all night long. Not a grit mush, thank heavens, but still gritty enough; creamy with a little cheese; and really lovely. My mushroom ragu was nice, too, but creamy as well, and I was feeling a little creamed out. Would have liked a green accompaniment. Could have ordered collards or brussel sprouts from the list of sides. Cousin had "knife and fork" fried chicken, which she liked, though again -- not particularly stand-out. She got a big ol' buttermilk biscuit with it, which was awfully leavened -- perhaps a little too high, prefer mine light and fluffy, sure, but still a bit on the denser side -- but it was good. we passed on dessert.

sorry this is so boring -- we weren't taking huge risks, I know -- but that's the way the meal seemed to end up to me. Kinda boring and bland. "Good" is the word I seem to have applied for most of the dishes. I would like to eat a little more spicing in the food.

Total was 72 for 2 apps, 3 mains, and 1 beer.

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