January brought the Foodies to The French Quarter in Rutland, MA on a recommendation from our member David, who has enjoyed this small hidden gem with his family. As we arrived, the owner happily greeted us and explained we were in for a real treat, describing the menu as  “…a mix of Asian and Cajun cuisines, with a little fun mixed in.”

Located in a small plaza on Rte 122A, you might drive right by the French Quarter if you didn’t know where it was, but don’t  – this hidden gem is worth searching out.

The casual atmosphere, combined with the friendly smiles and service helped to make our group feel more than comfortable as we trickled into the BYOB bistro. Some appetizers were ordered and shared including some delightfully fresh Spring Rolls, a few orders of Veggie Dumplings, hot Crispy Wontons and Curry Samosas that came with a spicy dipping sauce that caught the attention of more than a few people. “We shared a few apps at our end of the table and those alone made the trip to Rutland more than worth it”, said Julie.

As we opened our wine and passed around the Wachusett Brewery IPA variety pack, we scanned the menu, discussing amongst ourselves what we might want to order. The French Quarter offering is extensive and as advertised, the Cajun, French and Asian influences are easily seen as vermicelli noodles, rice, lemongrass, hoisin sauce, curry and Cajun seasonings dotted the menu landscape.

Robyn ordered the Soup Du Jour – a Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Soup which she described as “flavorful”. The Basil Fried Rice was an interesting combination of fried rice, chicken, kielbasa, onions and basil and the Spicy Cajun Shrimp was a huge portion of shrimp, pickled carrots, cucumbers and lots of other fresh veggies over noodles.

Evan said the restaurant “combined the freshest ingredients with homemade flare” to create his spicy Chicken Pad Thai dish. He added, “the cozy space created an intimate environment for our large group and the owners and wait staff were very personable and social. All these factors made for a memorable night”.

Stephanie ordered the Grilled Beef Poutine and seemed more than pleased with the dish offering “it was really good, tasty, and huge!” So big in fact she passed the dish around for others to enjoy!

Once dinner was complete, the Foodies thoughts turned to the large display of desserts. There were cookies, puff pastries, cakes and more. One Foodie, at our end of the table, thoroughly enjoyed a huge piece of chocolate cake but the French inspired chocolate beignets were definitely the biggest hit. Robyn added “I do the think the hidden gems in this place are the pastries and French inspired desserts. And David, Robyn and Lynn all thought….”the Chocolate Beignets were fantastic.”

Another thing our group all agreed on, the service during our visit was outstanding. Dana added “the staff was very friendly and they handled our large group well.”

Overall the trip to Rutland to visit the French Quarter was well worth the ride and we suggest you try it too.