|13000 N. IH-35 Ste. #600
Austin, TX 78753
It took some time for me to review the French Quarter Grille at Parmer and N. IH-35 because it sits at the spot that was formerly Mama Roux. Michael and Yoli, my good friends, and the founders of Gumbo’s and Mama Roux tragically passed away last year.
But longtime server Scott and sous chef Dave did not want that memory to fade. And so using Michael’s recipes, the French Quarter Grill was born. And the two new owners have not missed at beat!
The appetizers have changed very little at the French Quarter. And that’s a good thing. The Red Beans and Rice still has that down-home, Bourbon St. feel to it and it has flavor that stands up to the strongest scrutiny. And the Crawfish Gumbo features pristine Louisiana Crawfish (or mudpups, yappies, et al) in a wonderfully fulsome roux. The first bite speaks volumes with its perfect flavor balance. The Shrimp Gumbo is equally good. The Crawfish Beignets are another treat. They arrive piping hot with jalapeno and roasted corn tartar sauce. Forget everything you’ve ever thought about a beignet at Café du Monde and just think wonderful integration of spicy yet mellow flavors. And the Fried Green Tomatoes still rock. They come with a crabmeat remoulade that shoots them up several notches (in my opinion) on the taste ladder from way this dish is usually presented.
The entrees at The French Quarter Grille are a delicious homage to Chef Michael. I love the Shrimp Creole. The tomato sauce is critical in this dish and Dave nails it. The Creole style imparts a different flavor vibe than the Cajun dishes and it’s just irresistible. And the Fish Ponchartrain is simply to die for. It’s blackened, of course, and comes with a luscious brandy mushroom sauce topped with shrimp, crab, and crawfish. This is decadence, plain and simple. Likewise for the Bowl of Crawfish Etouffee, a classic Cajun dish with the crawfish done in a wonderfully rich roux that is a bit blonder than some (I actually prefer it this way). What taste! And then you have to try the Cajun Version of a Grilled Ribeye. I don’t know if it’s the seasoning that I like more or the delicately caramelized onions and mushrooms on top.
Nevertheless, it is one massive flavor rush! Order it medium rare plus and you will be very happy. And for some carbs, how about a Shrimp, Crawfish and Andouille Sausage over fettucini with Dave’s absolutely spot on creamy Creole tomato sauce? The sauce is just the right consistency and works so well with this dish that at meals end, there’s not a drop in sight!
I could give you many dessert options but the truth is simply stop at the Croissant Bread Pudding. With vanilla bean ice cream, caramel rum and chocolate sauce, this offers up a comingling of blissfully sweet and comforting flavors.
The French Quarter Grille is far better than any monument that could have been erected to Michael and Yoli. It’s a living, breathing, butt-kicking testimony to their life’s work!