Photo by Dale Irvin
Rox has a full sushi bar.
Rox Rocks: A new incarnation of a popular Ponchatoula dining spot shakes up the small town culinary landscape.
“Excitement moves the world.”
Fifteen seconds into my conversation with Saul Rubio, I knew I was going like this guy.
“I get so excited and do things from the heart,” he continues. Rubio is the entrepreneur behind the growing local chain of restaurants that started fifteen years ago when he opened La Carreta in Hammond.
Now there are locations across South Louisiana with new ones slated to open soon in Lafayette, Houma and Covington.
For the most part, the menu at each features the cuisine with which Rubio grew up in Mexico. But the restaurant in downtown Ponchatoula that has now become part of the fold is a bit different.
Before I go on I need to make a collective confession. We’re a bit jaded in this part of the world.
“Oh, look, it’s another flawlessly fried catfish steak covered with crabmeat in a delicious sauce.”
It’s the kind of dish that makes jaws drop in culinarily less interesting parts of the country, but which we take for granted around here. And that’s exactly what arrived at our table the evening I dined with friends at Rox. But it’s not every small town restaurant where you can accompany that classic with a light starter of ceviche wrapped in lettuce leaves. Or sashimi.
Rox offers a sophisticated mélange of culinary cultures that includes classic Louisiana dishes and the terrific Mexican fare that Rubio’s restaurants are famed for. Then it throws in a full sushi bar—from whence comes the occasional mash-up of genres like a Mexican sushi roll, with tuna, escolar, jalapeños and cilantro, topped with avocado and chipotle mayo.
Rubio tells me that they’re continuing to experiment with the menu. He confesses to a current fascination with Ponzu sauce. “It’s like an Asian vinaigrette.” Expect to see it popping up as dressing for a signature salad soon.
Brightly umbrellaed tables that overlook Ponchatoula’s historic train station have been added just in time for outdoor people-watching during that community’s upcoming Trade Days the first weekend in November.
Come jaded, leave with a new appreciation for small town dining.
Details. Details. Details.
Rox 147 Northwest Railroad Avenue Ponchatoula, La. (985) 370-0930 roxrestaurant.com 11 am–10 pm, Sunday—Thursday. Open until 10:30 pm on Friday & Saturday