It was early evening and I just got off work. It was a long exhausting day and I needed to unwind. My phone rang and my girl Mykel said, "Let's meet for a cocktail." It was as if the clouds parted and a ray of sunlight shone down directly on me. But where to go?
I had been to the Rouge before, but only on the late night tip when it was packed. It's always packed on the weekends, by the way, so if your looking for a fun night club, you have to go. However, as it was only five 'o clock. I figured it would be nice and mellow right now. We headed over. The Rouge is the night club in the Citron Continental Bistro. It's reminiscent of a 1920s Jazz room, with a New Orleans-gone-Parisian theme. Featuring a long rectangular bar with seating all the way around, a dance floor and three seating areas, The Rouge is a great place to hang out, have cocktails and appetizers, chat up your friends and shake your groove thing.
We went in and sat down at the bar. I couldn't decide what I wanted so Frank, the bartender, suggested a Jamaican Express. I had never heard of this one and I was game to try. Tasting of banana and rum and some other fruit flavors I could not identify it was absolutely delicious - it went down dangerously easy.
We looked over the appetizer menu, and I have to say I was really surprised. The only thing I could identify on it were the sweet potato fries. Their menu was completely unique. We ordered the Queso Fundido, the Sweet potato fries and the Goat cheese souffl?. Frank started us off with a bread made right on the premises that was crispy on the outside and soft and fresh on the inside, and dotted with kalamata olives. It came with a dipping sauce. It was an orange color. I don't know what made it orange, but it was made with olive oil and shredded parmesan cheese. yum.
The Queso fundido came out on a skillet and was a mixture of spices, different cheeses, and mushrooms and was served with flour tortillas and a sweet salsa. I had never had anything like it. I wouldn't say it was all that exotic, but I would say it was really delicious.
By this point I had finished my Jamacian Express, and requested a chocolate martini, though this was a big risk, because the only other place in town that can make a good chocolate martini is Fuzio's in River Park. Frank made one and absolutely nailed it. It was great. Mykel and I tried the sweet potato fries, they were good, but those are hard to mess up. I loved the roasted garlic aoli dip that they came with. Finally, we started in on the Goat cheese souffl?. It was served over a roasted baby artichoke salad with grilled sweet peppers, olive oil, parsley and balsamic dressing and topped with shaved parmesan. I don't know how to describe the souffl?, it was just fantastic and is worth the trip alone.
By the by, Frank was courteous, attentive, and made the experience thourougly enjoyable. I would definitely reccomend this place.
I almost forgot to mention that the cool thing about The Rouge is that on Friday and Saturday Night they turn the entire restaurant part into a night club also. So they'll have a DJ spinning hip-hop in the Rouge and then in the other room they have another DJ spinning old skool, or top 40 and they fill the place up.
The Rouge is located at Citron on Blackstone just north of Shaw on the west side of the street. For more info call 559-224-6060.