Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Road Trip: Joseph Decuis--Revisit

Kind of last minute, the family and I decided to head up to Joseph Decius in Roanoke—okay, we headed up because they were posting pictures of morels and I needed to get some—and it’s kind of a tradition for us to go around Mother’s Day. My in laws were in town and love it there too, so it made a nice little road trip.

I was also curious to see how it was now that Chef Butts has left to open his own place in Ft. Wayne (can’t wait to try it either, it’s called The Golden and I think it’s supposed to open sometime soon). Things seemed to be running pretty smoothly with the new chefs, and I was happy to see they were still doing the morels the same way. The restaurant looked a little different because they have added a shabu shabu bar in there, which intrigues me (and you can eat it anywhere in the restaurant with 24 hours notice). All that wonderful wagyu beef would be wonderful dipped in hot broth. Anyway, I digress.

A great deal of morels were ordered at our table—I think four orders. They are lightly floured and seasoned and then quick dipped in the fryer. They were nice and crisp, but somehow seemed a little less seasoned than usual. They also serve a demi glace with it (we got it on the side), which I liked better than I remembered, but maybe because I wished the mushrooms were just a tad more seasoned. Just a sprinkle of salt would have made a big difference. They were still very good, because let’s face it, they’re morels, but something was just a little different.

We shared a couple of salads at the table and they were both great. The Decuis version of a Caesar ($10) is excellent and a regular choice for us. It is made with mostly frisee, which gives it a different texture from the usual Caesar, and the addition of duck confit and brioche croutons gives it a little extra richness. They have a nice slightly tangy dressing that I really like. But my mother-in-law ordered the Brussels sprouts salad ($9) and that salad was amazing. Seriously, hubby and I contemplated ordering a second one instead of dessert. We have been known to randomly order savory items as dessert, and this was worthy. It was shaved Brussels sprouts with shaved fennel, dill, parmesan, little crunchy bits of marcona almonds (my favorite kinds of almonds) and this amazing brown butter vinaigrette. It was still nice and tangy but had this super richness from the brown butter. I need to make a brown vinaigrette at home. This was so good. We all gushed on it. They have always had good salads here, and these were no exceptions. Side note: another thing they have that’s really good at this stage of the meal? The bread plate. Several kinds of warm bread and nice soft butter. It’s the kind of bread plate you just can’t say no to a refill on.

Entrée-wise, I would say my mother-in-law won this one as well. She had the salmon ($28) on top of Gorgonzola risotto (going to need to make that as well) and asparagus with pickled apple and parsnip slaw on top. This also had just the right mix of acid and rich, deep flavors along with a perfectly cooked piece of fish. Hubby and my son split the wagyu sirloin (the picture you see is a half an order). This was also really, really good. The meat was full blood wagyu (they have many different offerings each night, some are full wagyu, some are mixed with angus cattle). The meat had a ton of flavor and while nicely marbled, was still tender. Also, Robuchon potatoes, which now may be my kids’ new favorite thing (go figure since they are like equal parts butter to potatoes). They are delicious though.

I had an appetizer for my main dish—which was a special. It was pan-fried sweetbreads with fiddlehead ferns, and cheesy risotto balls. Loved those risotto balls—very cheesy and not dry at all. The fiddlehead ferns were also very nice, tender, but still with a bite. The sweetbreads lost a bit of their crispiness due to all the sauce, which was very rich. The whole dish was just a little over the top for me, but hubby loved it and we switched a lot. Honestly, I wished I had just gotten that Brussels sprouts salad for my dinner!

My daughter ordered the Mangalista pork chop ($38). It had roasted cauliflower and broccoli with it as well as a blueberry mostarda and a creamy sauce. It was an extremely fatty piece of meat (which our server told us about). My daughter enjoyed it while she was eating it, but it didn’t sit well with her later in the evening—I think it was just too rich for her (I rarely cook things that fatty at home).

Desserts were also good. Because there was a cheese plate, and because my kids were with us, we had one of those. It was a nice, well-rounded cheese plate—I really liked the cherry jam in the middle, I ate some with every bite. It had a nice variation of cheese that made everyone happy. I also appreciate a bit of fruit with a dessert cheese plate. There was not enough bread with it (there never seems to be enough) and while we asked for more, it never came.
We also shared a white chocolate cheese tart that was a special and it was really, really good. A great dessert to me because it wasn’t over the top sweet, but had enough of it to make it feel like dessert. It had a drizzle of fruit sauce and several fresh berries on it as well. I would get this one again in a heartbeat.

Overall, food-wise, it was a very good meal. Some things really shone, but nothing was bad. The biggest problem was the service being so slow—a lot of it was due to computer problems—they were having to enter every order by hand as well as writing up every credit card receipt. But regardless, it was a meal that took over three hours, which was a little long. Particularly when your kids are with you. But it is still one of my favorite road trips and one of my favorite getaways.

Joseph Decuis
191 North Main Street
Roanoke, IN 46783

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