French-born chef Fabrice Roux and his wife Jennifer just closed escrow on the restaurant, located where Vineyard Bistro used to be at 6 Pilot Road, and for them it’s a dream come true.
“It’s exactly what we were looking for,” he says. “A little restaurant, a garden and a beautiful place to live just five minutes away.”
Up until last week Roux was executive chef at the trendy Joya restaurant in Palo Alto and lived in the East Bay, commuting an hour and a half each way to get to work.
“I’m planning to do something similar to Joya,” he says. “Small plates, tapas, French, Mediterranean, seafood, jerked chicken and paella; a variety of good things. People will be able to come in and have a small plate or a full dinner.” Joya is a contemporary-style restaurant and tapas bar with big picture windows overlooking University Ave. It’s menu includes two dozen tapas plates ranging in price from $5 to $15 and several entree selections priced between $18 and $30. Yelp reviewers give it four stars and are especially enthusiastic about chef Roux’s jerked chicken and ceviche.
Roux—yes, that’s his real name—is from Laon in northern France near the Champagne region. He started his career working at Parisian landmarks such as the Hotel Crillon and Fauchon.
He moved to the States in 2000 and helped open the Eiffel Tower restaurant at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel. He also worked at the Grand Café in San Francisco before going to Joya.
The 110-seat restaurant is set to open November 18, but as a trial run Roux is partnering with The Quail & Olive across the street on an Olive Oil Harvest party to be held November 7th, when he plans to cook up a giant paella.
The chef says it’s important to him to buy locally as much as possible, so the menu will feature fish like rock cod and ling cod from the Monterey Bay, greens from Earthbound Farm and artichokes from Castroville.
But he wants to differentiate Roux from other local restaurants by also offering European specialties like foie gras, homemade chorizo and other types of charcuterie. Roux’s second special event will be a white truffle dinner to be held in late November.
The new restaurant will offer a wide range of wines, including local vintages and wines from the Napa Valley, Russian River, France and Argentina.
Fabrice and Jennifer, both golf enthusiasts, fell in love with the Monterey Bay area during repeated trips to attend the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. “It became our tradition to spend every Valentine’s Day here,” he said.