Long-Stirring Finally Yields a Savory Roux

Shrimp over thyme grits, one of Roux’s creole style dishes.
Shrimp over thyme grits, one of Roux’s creole style dishes.

After a year-long gestation, locals Michael and Cindy Byrne this week finally greeted the first guests to cross the threshold of their latest endeavor, Roux, which adds a distinctive menu of offerings among the town’s mix of restaurants.

Under the guidance of Chef Norm Théard, the former Café Zoolu has undergone a creole infused remake in both style and substance.

Instead of zebra-striped stools setting a visual cue, French quarter scrollwork and historical photos of New Orleans fill the walls of the tiny restaurant at 860 Glenneyre St., which hums with zydeco tunes and the aroma of gumbo, étouffée, jambalaya and rice and red beans.

One ingredient common to both the new and old establishments: fish.

The restaurant run for 24 years by Michael and Toni Leech, and closed last May, earned renown for a baseball cut of swordfish prepared in different ways. The couple dined alongside the first guests treated to Roux last Friday, Aug. 18. It opened to the public this week for dinner only.

Théard’s menu, too, swims in fish entrees, from shrimp po-boys to catfish to the signature Shrimp Yvonne, shell-on pink crescents over a garlic and thyme sauce. The dish’s namesake and the chef’s mother, Yvonne Ozenne Théard, passed on her own family’s creative skill in the kitchen.

The chef and his wife Tracy, who curated the restaurant’s furnishings, lived upstairs for the last year, supervising the restaurant’s transformation.

Partner Michael Byrne, who also owns The Saloon in town, graciously accepted congratulations, but was quick to equivocate. He is eager to see if the couple’s new child can stand on its own.

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