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New restaurants add to dining choices in Nederland

NEDERLAND —Two new restaurants, one an upscale French inspired eatery and another that features casual dining in a relaxed outdoor setting, are on the menu for Nederland and sure to please even the pickiest of palates while bringing something new to Mid-County.

Le Ren French Kitchen opened its doors at 1147 Boston Ave., the old Finch Hutton location, about three weeks ago, and was feted with a ribbon cutting by the Nederland Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

Chef Rafael Ruiz said the restaurant offers traditional French cooking techniques with a modern day flair.

“It is not considered fine dining, but is upscale dining. We are a little more relaxed and casual,” Ruiz said. “We use as many local ingredients as we can, and have a very good fresh seafood program.”

Along with new dishes such as lobster ravioli and duck confit in Asian sauce, Ruiz said Le Ren offers standards like Steak Dianne and shrimp and grits along with traditional French fare such as beef bourguignon, just to name a few of the menu items.

Ruiz was chef at Finch Hutton three years ago, but said Le Ren is not affiliated with the the former restaurant.

“It is a totally different company,” he said.

Le Ren is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner and on Sundays for brunch. Lunch hours are 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. for dinner. Sunday brunch is served from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.

For patrons who want a little lighter fare, Luke’s Icehouse is coming to Nederland.

Now under construction, the restaurant made popular in Beaumont four years ago has expanded into Houston, and now into other markets including Mid-County.

Luke’s is currently under construction at the old Fuzzy’s Taco Shop location, 1039 Nederland Ave.

“Beaumont Luke’s was the first. We have since built another in Houston and are working on a couple of other locations, but wanted to come back over here. We always wanted to get into Mid-County, and this location came up,” Silver Gordon, operator, said.

Luke’s Mid-County site will offer the same menu as its Beaumont counterpart, as well as a full beer, liquor and wine selection. Luke’s drink menu features a large selection of craft beers.

“The food menu is very casual, but high quality. We like to think it is very good, and that there is something for everyone,” Gordon said.

The building is undergoing an expansion, with a 3,000-square-foot outdoor patio featuring both covered and open-air seating.

The outdoor patio also features a courtyard area with a fountain and several fire pits.

Inside, patrons can enjoy bar or dining seating, or relax on couches while watching sports on big screens.

“Beaumont was so good to us, and I think we will be very well received, so it is nice to do more in the area we are from,” Gordon said.

Diana LaBorde, president and CEO of the Nederland Chamber of Commerce, said it is exciting to have the two new restaurants in the city.

“Of course it is great to have two new businesses in the area and two with such a large following,” LaBorde said. “The best thing about this is it is pulling people from out of town to come into our town to see what we have to offer.”

E-mail: sherry.koonce@panews.com

Twitter: skooncePANews