Catering is much like Hell’s Kitchen, built on a foundation of instability, sudden change, and constant disruption to even the best laid plans.
Since 2007, Rouge Catering has taken its place among Washington and Baltimore’s best and brightest, with a near-perfect rating on Wedding Wire where they’re praised repeatedly for their world-class service. They have certainly earned their stripes, but there is no doubt that the food takes center stage time and time again.
With classical French training and over 35 years of experience, owner and Executive Chef Jonathan Soudry creates a level of flair and prestige so rare in the volatile and strenuous world of catering. With a steadfast loyalty to farm-fresh ingredients and seasonally appropriate cuisine, Rouge Catering has become a treasure within the Capital Belt.
And now, with wedding season in full swing with autumn’s mild weather, changing colors, and endless themes, the focus turns to the perfect, seasonal menu filled with seasonal fare. From roasted root vegetables to rich demis cloaking hearty meats, and the scent of apple and cinnamon perfuming the crisp, cool air, fall delivers a rich, decadent menu that fills the belly and warms the soul.
However, with caterers a dime a dozen, opening and shuttering like the tides of the Potomac, it is harder than ever for couples to find the perfect – and affordable – caterer for the wedding of their dreams.
This is where Rouge Catering has become a standout in both the DC and Baltimore markets, writing custom menus tailored to each couple. And thank goodness, because a quick look at their menus can prove to be overwhelming at first glance. (We had to grab a snack just reading through the hors d’oeuvres!)
As we close out fall and approach the holidays, we decided it’s the perfect time to take a closer look at the standout stars among Rouge Catering’s beautifully curated menus.
But every now and then, there comes a chef who is able to translate the catered experience into something much far more powerful, something more unique, and something truly incredible.
Instead, get guests talking with Rouge’s bruschetta bar featuring cinnamon, pears, olive tapenade, and goat cheese. It’s a display that will feel right at home amongst the rolling Maryland and Virginia countryside.
You would be hard pressed to attend a Maryland wedding without Eastern Shore-style crab cakes, and again Rouge does not disappoint. Available as a passed hors d’oeuvre or plated entrée, these morsels of goodness are beloved for their crispy coating, natural sweetness, and no shortage of lump crab. Served on a festive “tear drop” spoon for cocktail hour or with a sweet potato galette for dinner, Soudry tops his crab cakes with an accent of his own citrus remoulade.
Curtsy tradition with a nod to the familiar by adding Chef Soudry’s burger slider with a twist, presented on a hand-cut potato crisp instead of the traditional bun. It’s a lighter and fun option that is recognizable to your guests but delivered with an added elegance.
And the best part about Rouge’s passed hors d’oeuvres?
Kristin B. explains in her Yelp review:
“All amazingly composed AND served so you didn’t need a plate…the hallmark of a great app.”
Despite the plethora of hors d’oeuvres offered during the cocktail hour, guests are often too preoccupied with socializing to eat, so they arrive at their tables famished. However, with introductions, speeches, and toasts, it may be awhile before the main course is served. That’s why it’s especially important to select an appetizer that is satisfying but won’t risk ruining the star of the show, the upcoming entrée.
Rouge Catering offers a host of autumn-inspired appetizers, but our favorite is a velvety pumpkin and apple bisque that is sure to warm those crisp fall evenings. It’s also vegetarian friendly, eliminating the extra work on your RSVPs.
For a more upscale option, Jeanne-Marie, married last December, raved about her appetizer, saying the “highlight was grilled octopus served on a chickpea puree, with roasted tomato and caper embellishments.”
Really, it doesn’t seem like you can go wrong, and Rouge will work with you to create a menu reflective of you as a couple.
Guests typically do not have high expectations for “wedding food,” but Rouge brings a smile to the face of even the toughest cynic. There is such diversity in their offerings, and their mastery of so many distinctive cuisines is their defining trademark. Better yet, they have the uncanny ability to meet various food restrictions with delicious and distinctive options.
Still, there are two dishes that stand out again and again: Rouge’s rockfish and short ribs.
Like crab, rockfish is a staple in Maryland and popular on many locally-inspired menus. However, it can be incredibly hard to get right in a full-service kitchen, let alone a mobile catering kitchen like the one Rouge utilizes.
And yet each review heaps endless praise and adoration on Soudry’s rockfish, which he carves to order and plates with fresh garden herbs and a delicate citrus-garlic sauce.
We recommend the homemade brown butter gnocchi pan-seared with sage and brussels sprouts as the perfect accompaniment to the delicate fish. (And bonus – it has the added bonus of serving as a third entree for vegetarians!)
And finally, the star of the show, the dish they are known for – the slow-braised short ribs.
They’re so good, they are served a few different ways. The most popular is Provencal, which infuses fresh herbs with toasted fennel and orange zest, and then topped with plum tomatoes and a red wine demi-glace. Or, for more of a Latin flare, go with the Provencal Espanola, which pairs an exceptional tortilla Española with fire roasted asparagus as compliments to the signature dish.
Kristin also applauded the beef short ribs in her Wedding Wire review, saying they “melt in your mouth” and were the “groom’s favorite,” while other reviewers echo the same sentiment of the “fork tender” dish. (Tip: they can also be served in a mashed potato cup as a creatively convenient and delicious hors d’oeuvre.)
If none of these popular entrees strike your fancy, their maple brined chicken with pear chutney or mirin glazed Chilean seabass with cannellini bean puree surely suit a seasonal menu.
And for those looking for something a little more mainstream, Rouge Catering takes their mac & cheese very seriously, offering eight different kinds with a customizable topping bar.
As you may have noticed, interactive stations never seem to go out of style, but one small misstep, and a station can disintegrate into the typical, stale, overcooked buffet. Rouge Catering, however, transforms their stations into a magical spread of wonder.
Think we’re kidding? For a company built on creative ingenuity, Rouge offers no shortage of options to suit even the most discriminating palate.
A long-loved favorite is their homemade, signature mini donuts, available as a martini bar or presented atop mason jars with cold milk.
Donut martini buffet? Yes, you heard right. Rouge makes their signature mini donuts on-site with the especially seasonal-appropriate apple cider donuts. These can be complimented by a toppings bar that includes everything from crème fraiche, champagne-soaked berries, and cinnamon Chantilly cream.
With such creative and seasonal options, even the most demanding guest will not be able to fight the warmth of nostalgia from these delectable little nuggets.
Rouge also offers their signature donuts in a different pairing, served atop miniature mason jars filled with ice cold milk and accented with a festive striped straw. (Plus, it has the added advantage of slowing down the bar as the evening winds down!)
They also make for a gorgeous display, and they are just the finishing touch to have your guests raving about your event for months to come.
Plus, you can decorate the table with pictures of you and your guests for an added touch to end the evening.
“Here at Rouge, we like to say: ‘Let the menu tell the story of the couple.’”
And the best part? Rouge Catering’s team sends a special picnic basket to the honeymoon suite for the bride and groom to enjoy long after the reception is over. Flair and style for your big day.
With such incredibly unique and creative menu options, Rouge Catering brings a level of class and glamour to the upscale world of Washington, D.C. Invite personal flair and style to your big day through a customized menu and world-class service, courtesy of Rouge Catering.