Sur la menu: Double Vision
Blue Dog Café in Lafayette and Lake Charles provide two brilliant spaces for a brilliant young chef
Roasted Half Chicken | Served with citrus & toasted herb pan drippin’ gravy, cucumber tomato salad
In late 2017 Chef Ryan Trahan left Dark Roux — the celebrated Lafayette restaurant he cofounded — to accept the position of executive chef at Blue Dog Café, which has locations in Lafayette and Lake Charles. He will oversee both.
Blue Dog Café was founded in the late 1990s by the New Iberia-born artist George Rodrigue (1944-2013) and his wife, Wendy, to showcase Rodrigue’s internationally celebrated works depicting dreamy, haunting scenes of Acadiana and to tell the story of Cajun culture on the plate. Rodrigue is most often associated with the iconic Rougarou, a Cajun werewolf, presented as a pop art blue dog found somewhere in most of his otherwise formal paintings.
Bringing Trahan, 30, on board quickly proved fortuitous for Jacques Rodrigue, co-operator of Blue Dog Café and son of the late artist. Last summer Trahan topped eleven contestants from across Louisiana to win the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off. Later, he again bested eleven other contestants — this time from across the country — to be crowned “King of American Seafood” during the 15th Annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off. Trahan and Sous Chef Sullivan Zant took the top prize with crackin’ crusted red snapper with pickled crawfish tails, buttermilk chili consommé, spring vegetables, burnt leek oil and Choupique caviar. Beaming, the chef knelt upon the stage clad in a chef’s coat, casual olive green trousers and Nike sneakers to have the crown placed upon his head. The award affords Trahan the opportunity to promote Louisiana seafood on an international platform.
A Crowley native, Trahan looks even younger than his 30 years and his personable, engaging nature makes everyone he meets a fast friend. He learned his craft from his grandmother, who expressed adoration for her loved ones through food. He shares her passion and lavishes it upon his wife and their young daughter.
Trahan says the freezer is never empty in case he’s not home to cook for them.
“I started cooking professionally about 10 years ago,” Trahan said. “I grew up in a family-owned restaurant and over the years I have cultivated a passion for serving and pleasing people through food and drink.
Trahan brings with him to the Blue Dog Café his dedication to boldly flavored, fresh, sustainably sourced seafood, meats and rustic vegetable dishes presented as elevated interpretations of familiar Acadiana comfort foods.
“You can’t beat the flavor and versatility of vegetable cookery,” Trahan said. “Once you have fresh, beautiful vegetables that are grown with love and care, nothing else compares.”
Trahan is humbled by a core group of fans who have followed him as he has taken up the kitchen in different spots over the years.
“I have a bunch of regulars who have followed me from restaurant to restaurant,” Trahan said. “All of them enjoy great food and appreciate the thought and effort that goes into creating memorable experiences.”
5 Dishes to Try
1. Acadian Boudin Dip
Served with Canebrake beer mustard and toast points.
2. Roasted Half Chicken
This shines for its simplicity with citrus and toasted herb pan gravy and cucumber tomato salad.
3. Blue Crab Spaghetti
Fresh lump crab, linguini, chili garlic butter, citrus herb gremolata, shaved cured egg yolk, and aged Parmesan.
4. Cracklin’ Crusted Gulf Catch
Served with herb gnocchi, sweet peas, lump crab, ham, smoked shiitake mushrooms and lemon butter.
5. Half & Half
Pairing a plump, crispy soft shell crab, fried shrimp, crawfish étouffée, Louisiana popcorn rice, and creamy coleslaw.
Blue Dog Cafe / 609 Ryan St. Lake Charles, 337-491-8880 / 1211 W. Pinhook Rd. Lafayette, 337-237-0005. bluedogcafe.com