Sunday, 6 November 2011
There are times as a graduate student when you just really need to get out, eat good food, lose yourself in good company and sip sophisticated wine. Wednesday of this week was one of those times.

I haven't written about a restaurant in ages but I felt inspired to give up on the PhD diatribes for a day and do so. (Lately some favorite eateries have been Chez Liberty for brunch, Bravo for the amazing appetizer deal after 9pm and Sunspot for inventive veggie dishes).

The other night I ate at RouXbarb for the first time. It is close to Bearden Hill, located off Northshore next to the dive pub Union Jacks. The place is intimate with amazing ambiance and white table clothes. The waiters are very knowledgeable and the dishes combine amazing food concepts with fresh ingredients.

"At RouXbarb, we use only premium ingredients from family sustained farms, local or regional sources when available, and with all meats, seafood and poultry being hormone, antibiotic, and steroid free whenever possible."

Tony, my dining companion, ordered the smoked duck and I chose the quail dish. We also started with a fried seafood appetizer plate which was prepared similar to fried calamari. We felt the breading was a bit bland but our meals were lovely. The quail was presented on perfectly flavored greens and whipped turnips. Yummy! Certainly a down-home feel to the menu, served flashy-bistro style.

One of the best aspects of RouXbarb, in my opinion, is the BYOB policy. Yes, they charge a corkage fee but the option offers a nice opportunity to enjoy the wine you have collecting dust around your house and avoid the 10x mark up on bottles at restaurants. We brought a lovely bottle of Williamette Valley Pinot Noir which Tony won at a recent charity auction event benefiting ChildHelp, a Knoxville non-profit. It was a 2006 Beaux Freres. Wine Centric lists these tasting notes:

"Dark ruby color with red berries, oak and vanilla on the nose. Wonderful ripping acidity on the back-end. The acidity is so intense at first that it almost creates a carbonated effect in the mouth. Spice, red raspberry, cherry and strawberries. As the wine opens up more oak emerges but early on it is very subtle and underscores the wine. There's a sweetness to the wine that really balances it."

Even though we were one of the last couples to leave Rouxbarb (the atmosphere is such that you'll want to linger and chat), the waiter didn't lose energy while making sure we had everything we needed and even Chef Bruce stepped out of the kitchen to say hello. Rouxbarb serves dinner Tuesday through Sunday and reservations are recommended.

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