I am still thinking about the soft-boiled quail eggs with asparagus tips tossed in hollandaise (or was it béarnaise?) that I had at Chez Roux in February. It was one of those brilliant dishes that seems all the more inventive because you could pretty easily make it yourself at home. I think you can buy quail eggs at Central Market. And most of us can muster up a reasonable hollandaise in the blender.
The real treat at Chez Rouz was meeting the legendary Albert Roux, the man who taught Gordon Ramsey how to cook.
Albert Roux is a French chef who decided to practice his craft in London. In the process, he more or less transformed the English fine dining scene. Gordon Ramsay and several other top British chefs trained under Roux at Le Gavroche in London’s Mayfair district, the first English restaurant to earn a Michelin star. It would eventually earn the top rating of three Michelin stars.
“Gordon has a very big heart. He is nothing like the guy you see on television,” Roux told us at his restaurant in Conroe. Roux once gave an interview to a Scottish newspaper in which he described Gordon Ramsey as prone to cry a lot and Jamie Oliver as a nice guy, but not a top chef.
So what is the legendary Albert Roux doing in a restaurant in Conroe? It seems that one of his developer buddies decided to roll the dice on a resort hotel on Lake Conroe. Roux only shows up a couple of times a year, but the crew in the kitchen are all veterans of his other restaurants in Great Britain. I doubt this restaurant will be around for very long, so if you want to check it out, you should do it sooner rather than later.
Try the appetizers and the phenomenal chicken dishes, but stay away from the beef. I got an order of short ribs that had been braised for an exceedingly long time, but were still loaded with chewy gristle. As I attempted to eat them I remembered all the crappy beef dishes I had eaten in France. The French may produce the best chefs in the world, but when it comes to beef, they are clueless.
I don’t care how many Michelin stars Roux has, David Grossman’s braised short ribs at Houston’s Branchwater Tavern put Albert Roux’s short ribs to shame.