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Cooking what you love 

Ashley Swan-Abramson, chef at Roux (688 Park Avenue), loves the versatility of French cooking. "French food is influenced by so many different regions and you can do so much with it," she says. "I love doing new twists on classic interpretations." Swan-Abramson's mother, Robin Banister, owns Roux, and her sister, Paulina Swan, is the bar manager. Paulina Swan creates the craft cocktail menu while Banister chooses the selections for the restaurant's wine list.

The family also owned Cibon, the café that previously occupied the same space. The Cibon menu was primarily Italian-influenced, but the café's popular mussel dish made it to the new menu as the Roux Moules ($11) — mussels in a cream, Dijon, wine, and shallot broth, and served with a baguette. The new menu is significantly smaller than the one used by Cibon and changes seasonally, approximately every three months.

Roux's spring menu debuted last week, along with a new craft cocktail menu. The spring menu is lighter, with new dishes like the Smoked Salmon Salad ($14) — incorporating frisée, radish, cucumber, creamy herb dressing, and poppy seeds — and the Potage Parmentier ($6), a potato and leek soup with chives. A few popular menu items are still available, including the Steak Frites ($28), a 10-ounce ribeye steak with maître d'hotel butter and pomme frites, and the Croquet Monsieur ($12): country bread, French ham, Dijon, béchamel, and gruyére, available on the brunch and lunch menus.

The cocktail offerings at Roux include seven different types of absinthe, each served with a sugar cube and chilled water. If you're in the mood for a cocktail (all craft cocktails are $9), the new menu includes the Confidence Boost which features Rittenhouse Rye, Byrrh, muddled strawberry, mint, and Blanche de Chambly. There's also the Backyard Barbeque: Plymouth, Cynar, Salers, squid ink, egg white, lemon, Peychaud's Bitters, with a Laphroaig rinse. Squid ink in a cocktail? I'm in. Spring is all about getting out of the house, trying new things, and shaking off that winter.

Roux is located at 688 Park Avenue and is open Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday, 11 a.m. (brunch until 2 p.m.) to 11 p.m. 461-2960. Visit Roux's website at

Quick bites

The ROC Eats Real nutrition challenge will take place May 3 through June 13. The six-week program encourages participants to clean out their pantries of anything processed and embrace local-produced, wholesome, and natural food. The program was created by nutritionist Amy Nadelen (of Tribe Wellness) and is sponsored by the Good Food Collective and the Rochester Public Market. Registration is now open and more information can be found at

The owner of the popular food truck, Marty's Meats, will open a brick and mortar restaurant, Marty's On Park (703 Park Avenue), in May.


Flavors Indian Restaurant (35 Lafayette Avenue) has opened in Canandaigua.


Cici's Pizza (1100 Jefferson Road) has closed.

Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to correct the positions of Ashley Swan-Abramson (Roux's chef), Robin Banister (Roux's owner), and Paulina Swan (Roux's bar manager).


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