Diners in Ponchatoula and beyond have welcomed back some familiar faces to the local restaurant scene.
Randy and Kayla Tomeny, who operated C’est Bon Restaurant in the quaint city’s downtown from 1996 to 2006, have returned to the same Railroad Avenue spot with a new, remodeled eatery with a new name, Roux & Brew Seafood & Steakhouse. The couple expanded the old dining area and added a new kitchen across the rear, while the bar area has grown to include an oyster bar. Near it, more casual seating and flat-screen TVs give friends a chance to catch up or catch a game. It’s all cozy and casual, while keeping with the feel of exposed brick, vintage windows and shutters, and exposed-beam ceiling inside the historic structure.
We discovered that Monday evening was a great time to enjoy Roux & Brew. Minus the weekend crowd, we were able to soak in all the changes, and relax with a pleasing meal and wonderful service, especially from our server, Amanda. In the background a mixture of music played, from the modern pop of OneRepublic to the country of The Band Perry.
With grilled oysters being one of our favorite appetizers, we started off with a half-dozen oysters Rockefeller ($11.95). Arriving on a china plate, the half-shell oysters sat on a bed of rock salt and were accompanied by fresh slices of crusty French bread. Each tender, succulent oyster was topped with a spoon of seasoned creamed spinach and parmesan cheese. Delicious.
I had heard about Roux & Brew’s giant shrimp , but eating was believing. The shrimp and grits ($16.95) were served in a large bowl, but only large enough to hold five of those nearly half-a-foot-long crustaceans. The shrimp were cooked classic barbecue style, in a rich brown sauce, peeled but with heads and tails left on to hold in that flavor. The sauce, dotted with green onion, was a perfect complement to the creamy grits. A fresh house salad of greens, tomatoes, purple onion, celery, cracked pepper and a pleasing white remoulade dressing preceded the entree.
My husband chose to see if Roux & Brew can do steaks as well as seafood, and ordered the 10-ounce ribeye ($27.50). He added three of the large shrimp, grilled, on top for $5.95. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, as ordered, tender and juicy. It packed a nice, chargrilled flavor, as did the accompanying four grilled asparagus spears. A tough critic when in comes to beef, he was impressed with the quality and flavor of the ribeye. A salad also accompanied this choice.
What’s better for a child at home with a cold than some tomato basil soup ($5.50)? The rich, creamy concoction was sprinkled with fresh basil, steaming and flavorful.
We also took home some bread pudding ($5.95). The cake-like dessert had been baked in a ramekin and was light, airy and with a more delicate sweetness that traditional bread pudding.
The restaurant also serves sandwiches, burgers, salads, and some dishes paying homage to its past life, such as the C’est Bon chicken roulades. Something to try next time.