Matthew Lewis, the eponymous rover behind food truck sensation Where Ya At Matt, this year announced he's planning to open Roux, a real restaurant with tables and a roof. While Lewis has already settled on many of the small plates that will serve as the spine of his sit-down dinner menu, he's still tinkering with three starters. Voracious has been periodically checking in with Lewis as he perfects them.
Since Lewis last briefed Voracious on Roux's menu development, he's acquired another hand in the kitchen: Mike Robertshaw, who was reportedly booted from his job at Local 360 for being too loud, will serve as the Fremont restaurant's chef. Lewis and Robertshaw both served on Toulouse Petit's opening team.
"We respect each other's styles and whatnot, so it's a natural progression," Lewis says.
Finding a chef may prove easier than finding frog legs for frying. Lewis this May told Voracious he hoped to serve a lightly-breaded "version of Buffalo frog legs, for the Southern twist." Lewis turned to frog legs because gator's been in short supply since a reality show set in the Louisiana bayou stimulated a national craving for alligator flesh. But he's discovered the domestic frog leg market is in equally poor condition.
"Right now, none of the domestic frog legs really leave the state," Lewis says. "I don't necessarily trust the Asian frog legs. If they're willing to put lead in kids' toys, I don't think they're concerned about how their frogs are growing."
So Lewis may abandon the frog leg plan. "There are a lot of other opportunities to incorporate Cajun flavors into Northwest cuisine," he says, including a turtle soup that's secured a menu spot.
Back in May, Lewis was still wavering on the soup: "It's pretty tasty, but I don't know if Seattle is supportive of it," he said. Now he's confident that locals will develop a taste for it, much as his four-year old son has learned to like unfamiliar foods.
"I remember turtle soup was one of those things that took me a long time to try, and when I did try it, it was amazing," he says.
Stuffed artichokes have also migrated from the possible to the definite column, so long as the restaurant opens before the end of artichoke season. Lewis anticipates opening by the end of September, and says the restaurant's website should be active soon.
"It's going gangbusters," he says.