Acadiana is home to numerous outstanding farms and local meat producers, which is why Ryan Trahan opened Dark Roux last December, an inspiring farm-to-table restaurant with an inventive take on Southern cuisine. Trahan has long been an advocate for utilizing local food in restaurants.
“Dark Roux is a community centered restaurant dedicated to sourcing its menu within a 200-mile radius of our location,” said Trahan.
Dark Roux serves up “new American Creole” dishes by Trahan, a self-taught cook from Lafayette, and Chef Cory Bourgeois, who worked in New Orleans restaurants. Every dish incorporates produce and meats from local growers such as Gotreaux Family Farms, Mary Mary Markets, Gonsoulin Cattle, Inglewood Farms and Bread & Circus Provisions, in addition to the gardens right outside their doors. Look around the restaurant — even inside among the diners and in the surrounding parking lot — and you’ll find herbs and summer vegetables growing.
“Creole cuisine is where culture meets local food ways,” Trahan explained. “And we take local food and put a modern Southern spin.”
There are set menus for brunch, lunch and dinner, but the items change with the availability of what local food producers are offering which, Trahan said, keeps customers interested and trying and experiencing new food items. One great way to follow what Dark Roux is featuring that week is to routinely check their Facebook page or website (warning: the photos will make you very hungry).
“Right now Cory and I are stuck on the corn dish we serve for dinner,” Trahan said. “So unique and really fresh. We recommend this plate to everyone.”
Lunch offerings at Dark Roux include small plates, salads, sandwiches and chef plates, everything from pork “backbone” stew, a typical South Louisiana dish of smothered pork and gravy over rice with smothered cabbage to the “Farm Stand,” a toss of market vegetables, spring mix, feta cheese from Wanda Barras’ Belle Ecorce Farms, garlic emulsion and preserved lemon aioli on Poupart’s Bakery ciabatta. There’s even a “Locavare Burger,” featuring bacon, barbecue pickles, smoked mushrooms, gruyere cheese, spring mix and the house aioli on a Great Harvest bun.
For dinner, diners can see where there food hails from — pork osso bucco from Chappapeela Farms, pork chops from Inglewood Farm [NOTE: it’s Inglewood FARM, no s] and romaine wraps featuring grilled tilapia from Gotreaux Farms in Scott.
On weekends, Dark Roux becomes a comfortable space to enjoy brunch with live music, especially if diners want to relax on the patio. There’s so many great items to choose from, such as the butter pecan waffles, the shrimp n’ grits and the boudin Benny, Ritz cracker-crusted boudin cakes (the boudin is naturally house-made) with crawfish étouffée and a poached farm egg topped with Creole hollandaise. Just don’t forget the restaurant’s unique take on New Orleans beignets, a crowd favorite.
“They are completely different than the normal New Orleans style,” Trahan said. “Soft and addictive would be great describers.”
Dark Roux offers a variety of weekly drink and food specials, plus happy hour. The restaurant is also the site for the Local Pantry Pop-up dinners the second Tuesday of every month.
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