Ruffino’s on the River in Lafayette looks out on the Vermillion River and offers a lovely setting inside and out with a menu sure to please all diners. While a little too hot now to eat outside, in a few weeks it would be very pleasing to dine al fresco on the beautiful deck overlooking the water. The restaurant, located in the River Ranch area, is apparently as popular as its Baton Rouge location as we had to try several different days to make our reservation.
Once seated inside the beautiful dining room (there’s a large bar area as well), our drink orders were quickly taken and our head waiter brought over a small plate of roasted garlic and aged balsamic vinegar. She slowly stirred these together and added olive oil. We thoroughly enjoyed dipping ciabatta-type bread in the mixture while we looked over our menus.
For starters we recommend the shrimp corndogs ($12.95), six large shrimp on wooden skewers, dipped in a sweet cornmeal batter, fried and served standing in a block like lollipops alongside a good mustard dipping sauce. Fun and delicious, this was a great dish to get us started. We also tried the crabmeat cheesecake appetizer ($12.95), a large slice of savory rich baked crabmeat with creamy cheeses and a creole meuniere sauce and topped with hollandaise and chopped scallions that was just dense enough, with a light crust. This and a salad would make a nice meal.
We also really liked the sweet creamy corn and crab bisque ($8.95), served with lots of lump crabmeat, and the crisp sensation salad ($3.45), served in an attractive large bowl.
For our entrees we had the cedar plank baked redfish ($25.95), as beautiful as it was tasty, with tomatoes and pesto artfully drizzled on top of the tender fish.
We also enjoyed an incredibly tender 16-ounce rib eye steak ($33.95), cooked perfectly to order and served with a side of mashed potatoes.
Though our waiter diligently tried to steer us away from ordering any pasta dishes, we tried two of them and found them fabulous. The shrimp sorrento ($23.95) was a very large serving of shrimp in a lovely and light vodka tomato cream sauce over angel hair pasta, and the barbecue shrimp fettucine ($23.95) featured an abundant amount of New Orleans style barbecue shrimp (tip of the shell still on) in a well-seasoned but not spicy cream sauce over house-made pasta.
As we finished up our entrees a server brought over a freshly spun cone of blue cotton candy. Served at each table this whimsical treat was actually quite good and held us over as we waited for our waiter to bring the actual dessert menu. We tried three of their offerings and couldn’t decide which was better. The traditional tiramisu ($7.95) was out of this world with the coffee and chocolate and creaminess coming together in every bite. The white chocolate bread pudding ($7.95) was declared the best she’s ever eaten by one guest. Cut like a large piece of pie, the consistency was more like a pudding than the dense pieces often served and we enjoyed the creaminess. This dessert also had a red heart drawn in the yummy sauce on the side of the plate which we enjoyed. The vanilla creme brulee ($8.95) was also quite good and the delicious custard was prepared just right.
Though a little on the pricey side, we appreciated the thoughtfulness that obviously went into the preparation and presentation of all the dishes. The Frank Sinatra soundtrack was also enjoyable.