We've been hearing about Restaurant R'evolution (777 Bienville St., 553-2277; www.revolutionnola.com) for nearly two years now, after Louisiana chef John Folse and chef Rick Tramonto, formerly of Tru in Chicago, first announced they would collaborate on a major new restaurant in New Orleans. This week they're set to unveil Restaurant R'evolution inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel. It will serve dinner beginning Monday, June 4, and lunch and brunch will follow later this summer.
The restaurant's advance public relations campaign has been working to stoke anticipation, and it's clear the chefs' aims are ambitious. While many restaurant trends are heading more casual these days, R'evolution is dialing in a luxurious, grand restaurant experience. It's been quite some time since a new restaurant with such an ornate setting and such a vast, intricate — and pricey — menu has come along in New Orleans. They call it a "R'evolution" but in this way it also seems like a bit of an experiment.
At 200 seats and 6,000 square feet, Restaurant R'evolution features dining rooms decked with antiques, freshly painted murals and contemporary design throughout. There's a huge, open expo kitchen, tables set with Limoges china, a cheese cart and tableside preparations.
The R'evolution menu is described as a "contemporary translation of Cajun and Creole cuisine." It does start with gumbo (two types), though from there things get pretty elaborate. There are dishes like espresso-crusted venison carpaccio with dark chocolate and walnuts, roasted bone marrow and "Tramonto's Caviar Staircase," a multi-tiered caviar presentation (and a holdover from Tramonto's Tru menu), ranging from $65 to $200 depending on which caviars you choose.
The menu has a seafood section (crawfish-stuffed flounder Napoleon, seared scallops with foie gras) and a pasta section (sheep ricotta gnocchi with lobster, linguini with Manila clams). There are meat dishes, including a "triptych of Kurobuta pork," stewed tripe and paneed veal chop; another section is reserved for game (barbecued rabbit loin, molasses-lacquered duck); and yet another portion is just for steaks and chops. Apart from pastas, most entrees cost more than $30, and some are considerably more.
For dessert? Maybe rhubarb consomme with angel food cake, coffee-infused beignets or a chocolate souffle. A separate bar menu has charcuterie, pastas, sandwiches (sliders, crabmeat grilled cheese, a burger), oysters, crudo and lots of small plates, plus specialty cocktails and more than 30 wines served by the glass.
Folse and Tramonto are each executive chefs, and Chris Lusk, formerly of Cafe Adelaide, is chef du cuisine. Erin Swanson is pastry chef, and wine and spirits director Molly Wismeier is overseeing a 10,000-bottle wine collection.