Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Return Engagement

We have eaten at our favorite local restaurant—Chef Roy’s Frog City Café in Rayne, LA—many times. But never for dinner. Time to correct that oversight.

On March 30th, we blogged about having lunch at Chef Roy’s and wrote about the collaboration between co-owners Robert Credeur and Chef Benoit Morel. No need to repeat that now. And we briefly described the café’s casual elegance. No need to repeat that now.

Chef Roy’s dinner menu (from which we have ordered at lunch) has been revamped and has made making a decision even more difficult. While most of this menu is seafood/fish-centered, there are a few steak and chicken options. But Chef Roy’s is all about the local bounty. Try deciding between (and I offer only a few examples from the extensive menu): Shrimp Morel—jumbo grilled shrimp, served over pasta in a creamy crabmeat sauce; Shrimp Enchilada—shrimp sautéed in queso sauce with grilled tortilla skins and cheese and topped with shrimp sauce; Lump Crabmeat Diane—pasta tossed with a light stock loaded with lump crabmeat, mushrooms, parsley, green onions, herbs and seasonings; Crawfish Fettuccine—crawfish tails simmered in a creamy pasta sauce and then tossed with pasta; and Catfish Willie—catfish filets seasoned, grilled, and smothered in crawfish herb sauce.

Chuck decided to begin his dinner with the crab and corn soup that he had eaten on our earlier visit. I described it at that time thusly: “Chuck’s soup was wickedly delicious. Corn and crab are two foods meant to be combined, since the sweetness of each compli-ments the other. The soup was medium thick, contained bits of shredded cheese, and was garnished with scallion top rings. This was amazing. So amazing that I kept reaching across the table to steal just one more spoonful.” Why need to say anything more. And yes, I did again keep snatching spoonfuls.

For his entrée, he chose the Shrimp Alfredo, which combined small shrimp and mushrooms, simmered in a cheesy, herb-infused Alfredo sauce and tossed with pasta. This was not a traditional Alfredo sauce and tasted as though cream cheese had been substituted for the Italian classic parmesan. The pasta was just al dente and the cooked shrimp had that fresh snap when bitten into. The generous quantity of mushrooms? They came home with us, and I enjoyed them a few nights later.

My choice was the Crab White Lake. Eggplant slices were lightly breaded and then topped with crabmeat stuffing, which, in turn, was covered with crabmeat and crawfish boutte sauce. The peppery crabmeat stuffing was similar to the mixture used for stuffing crawfish heads or used to make crawfish boulettes. In this case, crabmeat was used instead of crawfish.

I can’t find a specific recipe for boutte sauce. My best description is that this was similar to, but not identical to, etouffee and was rich with butter and cheese. I thought that I detected a small amount of white wine along with herbs and pepper. And, of course, there was more crab, plus small crawfish tails.

To say that this was rich is an understatement. While I managed to finish the eggplant and crab stuffing, about half of the sauce came home with me and accompanied a light supper of crawfish pistolettes (a roll of bread, split or stuffed with seafood, meat, cheese, or other items such as jalapeno peppers) a few nights later.

We knew that we wanted dessert, but after two very rich entrees, we also knew that we needed a break. So we asked Brittany, our server that night, if we could have a ten-minute-or-so break. Fortunately, during our break co-owner Robert was walking through the dining room, and we had some extended time to talk with him.

We talked about the business “marriage” between him and Chef Morel. Chef Morel wants no part of the front of the house and doesn’t enjoy “schmoozing” with customers, and Robert wants no part of the kitchen operation.

We talked about topics ranging from Robert’s upcoming marriage this June to the demands of the restaurant business to hot sauces. (We both agreed that Tabasco has way too much vinegar. Robert prefers, I think, Louisiana Gold, while I prefer Frank’s. This latter topic then included the man at a neighboring table who always used Tabasco). And we talked about.... We’re going to leave that topic for tomorrow’s blog.

Time for dessert, and we ordered The Turtle, which we remembered fondly from our November 2008 visit. I’ll repeat my comments of November 21, 2008 here: “Do you remember ice cream cake roll? Chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream served jelly roll fashion? The Turtle is, as Emeril
Lagasse would say, ice cream cake roll “kicked up notches unknown to mankind.” Chocolate geniose cake (a sponge cake from Genoa, Italy) surrounds vanilla ice cream. This is rolled in caramel and roasted pecans, topped with whipped cream, and drizzled with chocolate. And all of this is served in a pool of caramel and chocolate.

“I think we broke the World Record for speed of dessert eating, and when all of the cake was gone, I asked Chuck if it would be bad form to lick the remaining caramel and chocolate from the plate. He laughed and said he was thinking about wiping the plate with his finger.”

We left Chef Roy’s stuffed, happy, and sleepy after this 5.0 Addie meal.

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