The Taste Food Tour :: Roxu Fusion
The first time I went to Roxu Fusion, I ordered the sesame chicken pierogis as my main course.
And, while I enjoyed them, I have to confess I suffered from extreme bowl envy before the meal ended.
Nearly all of my dining companions, a group of friends on a girls night out, ordered one of the Asian-fusion restaurant’s signature bowls. Most are brothy, a few are noodle-y, and all looked delicious.
So, this time, when I walked through the door and opened my menu on a dinner outing with my family, I knew I was going to order a bowl. I just didn’t know which one.
Roxu opened in September at 15607 Madison Ave. and serves dinner starting at 4 p.m. Owners Christoff Short and his wife, Kimberly Novotny, own the building and combined all storefronts into the 3,000-square-foot space that houses the restaurant. Chef Robert Dippong, formerly of Johnny’s Bar Downtown and Johnny’s on Fulton, serves up his own twist on Asian cuisine, calling it “Cleveland Fusion.”
As I looked over the menu, the Suttell men (as usual) made their decisions pretty quickly. They opted for two different types of steam buns, the braised short rib and tofu, as starters from a nice list of small plates. Both were outstanding. I’d order them again, especially since they disappeared so quickly at the hands of a teenage boy.
Each chose a full entrée. Scott, always a salmon fan, chose the Szechuan Salmon, griddle seared in a Szechuan marinade and Gochujang butter and served with wok-fried Brussels sprouts and artfully arranged rice. Evan with one of the evening’s dinner specials – lamb ribs with macaroni and cheese. Both devoured their meals and gave them a thumbs up.
Being the resident indecisive when it comes to menus, I pondered the bowls list for quite some time. Did I want the Short Ribs Gyudon, served with mushroom, shishito peppers, jasmine rice and homemade dashi? No, because I had just consumed short ribs in my morsel of steam bun.
Or did I want spicy, Korean-style Wagyu Bibimbap, with Wagyu beef, mushrooms, carrots, shishito broth, local egg, asparagus and jasmine in a chili broth? I came close to picking that until my eye caught the most traditional of all bowls – the ramen. In this case, Pork Belly Ramen. Score!
This was gourmet college ramen. The kind of ramen I wish I could have conceived as a fledgling hot pot cook at Kent State University in the 1980s. Rich broth with a kick, filled with tender chunks of pork belly, local mushrooms, ramen noodles and a broth flavored with shishito peppers filled a comfort food void I didn’t even know that I had.
I couldn’t quite believe it when my spoon hit the bottom of the bowl. I am not sure I can order anything else there. I am in love.
If you’re looking for a quick cocktail rather than a full meal, Roxu has a full bar and an intriguing list of cocktails, sake, beer and wine. Happy Hour runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday – Saturday, in the bar area, while ladies night is Thursday nights and gets you a $5 martini if you’re a female and of legal drinking age. Monday is Service Industry Night with all-night happy hour pricing for service industry professionals AND Lakewood residents, while Wednesday night is sushi night. The restaurant also hosts a number of special events.
— Robin Suttell, Taste of Lakewood blogger