Full disclosure: I was invited to Roux Tampa for a tasting of their new lunch menu in exchange for my opinion. Any opinions stated are my own and do not reflect Roux Tampa or any affiliates.
I visited Roux Tampa today for a tasting of their new lunch menu. The new menu has a variety of dishes added alongside items that were traditionally available. Most menu items are $12 or less, providing an affordable and quality experience.
We started with the Boudin Balls ($7): Two crispy boudin balls with rice, pork, onions, green peppers, seasonings, creamy pepperjack cheese, Zatarain’s Creole mustard crema. These were excellent and plenty to share. Every last bite was delectable and a waiter nearby was correct to mention that they went great with the in-house hot sauces at Roux.
The Florida Alligator Bites ($14) also did not disappoint. They were crispy in a way that might remind you of Bang Bang Shrimp though with a Cajun-twist. I also loved these – they were on the heavier side compared to the Boudin Balls, but went extremely well with the cocktails tried.
Another appetizer we indulged in was the Roux Iron Skillet Cornbread ($9) which features sweet corn, streusel topping, jalapenos, and Steen’s Cane Syrup butter. First of all, everyone who goes to Roux should have this on EVERY visit. It is phenomenal. It might not be new to the menu as I remember it being served in the past, but it is memorable and delicious down to every last bite.
All three appetizers stood up well and I would have been happy with any of them, but like I said you must order the cornbread if you visit Roux. If you love yourself that is.
Then there was the Cucumber Fizz Cocktail and Cajun Mule. The Cajun Mule features an exclusive Tidal Boar Cajun Ginger Beer that twists the expected flavor of a Moscow Mule, but in a good way. Both drinks were refreshing and exactly the kind of drinks you want to enjoy in Florida.
The ingredients balanced well and the booziness was just right, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the importance Datz Restaurant Group has placed on drinks at their establishments.
Moving on to the main courses…
We enjoyed the Steakburger ($12) with fries which has a ribeye-filet patty that will most certainly satisfy a quick burger craving, but the Pork Belly Banh Mi Po’ Boy ($12) stole the show.
Each piece of pork belly hit your tongue with pleasurable fatty goodness. The composition of the sandwich fit the banh mi name well and the ingredients were all fresh. The French Bread in the sandwich had the crunch we all have come to expect from a delicious banh mi sub without hurting the jaw.
The Asian-Creole fusion works well and I’m quite curious to see how this could be utilized in other dishes considering the heavy influence the French have in Vietnamese cuisine.
It’s important to note that this isn’t your average banh mi and to examine that in the pricing as well since a banh mi sub will normally run you somewhere between $4 and $7 by itself.
We couldn’t leave without having some red beans & rice ($8) which is a staple of New Orleans cuisine. The dish normally adds meat on top for an additional charge, but we wanted it as a side dish. It’s a solid dish and a true homage to Louisiana Creole cuisine.
Finally, before leaving I had the Summer of 75 which is a gin cocktail (please keep reading!) that actually tastes more like a pineapple French 75 (hence the name I assume). This cocktail was excellent and continued the excellent mixology menu. Well-balanced and not too sweet, while having the right amount of booze. Roux could carry itself on its cocktail selection by itself, but of course the food is also great.
To conclude, what we have here is a great lunch menu and cocktail list that is well worth your time and fairly priced. Stop by Roux for lunch. I’d recommend it.
Roux Tampa. 4205 South MacDill Avenue Tampa, Florida 33611. (813) 443-5255. http://www.rouxtampa.com/