From the Bayou adds fun to eating experience

“Chefs Matthew Johnson, left, and Jason Custer spend their evenings at From the Bayou in Parkland preparing and handing over delicious dishes like grilled salmon on slabs of aromatic cedar, or bowls of steaming jambalaya to be delivered to appreciative customers. Here, owner Kevin Roy accepts a tasty dish that will make some customer’s mouth water. (Photo by Bonnie West) I am here to make your mouth water with these words: shrimp fromage, seafood platter, crawfish etufe, bayou catfish, seafood gumbo, red beans with Andoville sausage simmered aaaallll day long and served over a heap of white rice. Actually, I just made my own mouth water again. A little Louisiana heaven is where these dishes get served, at From the Bayou, the restaurant a southern native son, Kevin Roy, opened on Garfield Street in Parkland a couple of years ago. If you didn’t get a teensy bit hungry from the dishes named above, would the idea of Louisiana alligator, farm-raised, marinated, lightly fried, and served with horseradish dijon inspire your tastebuds? Mine weren’t, no where close, but it’s only because I was totally focused on ordering the red beans, sausage, and rice.It’s been so long since a Mississippi relative made that dish for me and I couldn’t pass it up. And when the jalapena–imbedded corn bread arrived to start up my senses, I knew I had died and gone to Louisiana heaven! Me-oh-my-oh did I ever appreciate being there for dinner. It’s got the ambiance you go from restaurant to restaurant hoping to find.Now you might not think pictures of alligators, hundreds of crosses and hearts, and dozens of lit candles everywhere would produce an ambiance you’d want to be in for a couple of hours, but it sure did for me. That’s because Roy created surroundings he likes spending his time in and you get the returns for his fun-loving decor.I loved the women’s bathroom. There are bunches of roses drying from the ceiling, beautifully scented candles glowing througout the room, and a full-lenth mirror to see just how good you look. There’s even a huge assortment of handcreams to select from. Owner Roy said he comes from a food-loving family in Opelousas, La., where the socializing always took place around the table.When he decided to move to the northwest, after falling in love with it after a visit he paid with a friend, he brought that love of a dining experience with him,.He was hired as a waiter at Manzano’s in Tacoma and it wasn’t long before he toned down the hot peppers in one of his mother’s basic oil recipes, added a little rosemary, bottled it up and watched the oil get popular with customers there.He had started something truly good. Once customers dipped their Italian bread into the flavored oil, they wanted more.He named his product brand Sotto Voce, a line that has grown to include seven different olive oil flavors and ten vinegar blends–all hand-bottled at his shop in Spanaway.They are, thank goodness, all available at his Parkland restaurant, the Pike Place Market–next to where they throw the fish–(duck!) or at his Web site at:, tasty, tasty are the edible things Roy offers his customers, and–think you can swallow this?–just for fun he throws in something quirky–a free reading with a psychic with your dinner on Monday nights. Thought life was pretty good with that meal? See if it doesn’t get better with what Star, another Louisiana native, finds in your cards.When Roy was finally brave enough to have a reading with Star, she told him he would increase the size of his business. He did. His restaurant now opens onto a patio. After your life-changing reading I dare you, no I double dare you to say No, thank you, to the waittress when she brings the dessert tray to-die-for around. You’ll need a doggie bag for the rest of your dinner, I did, and even that will make you feel special. Take home boxes have a colored daisy tucked into the lid (another one of those touches that make you feel welcome).Son-of-a-gun I had some fun at From the Bayou!Think you may be feeling the stirrings of cajun roots? You might be if everything I’ve mentioned above appeals to you–and you know the difference between zatyains, zeringue, and zydyco. Go find out!Then after you’ve visited From the Bayou, squinched your eyes chewing your first bite of alligator, enjoyed your well-made lunch or dinner, savored a sweet dessert, and drunk waaayyyy too much lavendar-flavored lemonade, give me a call at the Index and tell me what you thought of the experience. Or I may just see you there!From the Bayou is located at 508 Garfield St., in Parkland. The hours are Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch, and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner. Make reservations by calling 253/539-4269. “