With so many new restaurants opening up all the time all over New Orleans, a first visit anywhere can be accompanied by a mélange of excitement and anxiety. Ambitious endeavors and good ideas are often compromised when the seemingly ever-increasing demand for skilled kitchen personnel far exceeds local supply. Opening a new restaurant can be a life-changing investment, so walking away from a first meal somewhere with a mouthful of “Nah…” leads to a bitter aftertaste, with repercussions far beyond one’s own digestion.
When chef-owners John Folse of Donaldsonville and Rick Tramonto of Chicago opened Restaurant R’evolution inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel six years ago (reportedly a six-million-dollar investment), the pressure was undoubtedly on to satisfy a large variety of palates. This led to a potentially schizophrenic menu approach—part Italian trattoria, part American steakhouse, plus the usual promise of re-envisioning Creole-Cajun city-meets-country cuisine. My guess, however, is that nobody wants their millions back at this point, as Restaurant R’evolution might be the best classic restaurant in the city (offering gumbo, turtle soup, bisque, oysters, frog legs, red fish, doberge, etc.).
A friend and fellow diner recently requested that his steak be served bleu, meaning almost raw. What he’s (always) looking for is for the cook to grab a searing hot pan and give the meat what amounts to a jump-scare (rare! and rarer still to find someone willing and able to do it). R’evolution followed his instructions to a T, and my friend was absolutely delighted.
There are many delightful details overall, such as the extravagant caviar service and more affordable salumi and cheese selections. Your fancy purse gets its own seat at the table, the truffle butter contains actual truffle and when you order wine off of what might be the largest wine list in the city (served up on iPads) it arrives at a suitable temperature and not until your attentive server has sampled just a few drops—a fantastic idea for both diners and establishment as less-than-tasty wine never gets poured and servers learn to make better recommendations to guests over time.
At Restaurant R’evolution, you’ll spend a good bit of money, but you also won’t have to worry about a thing. It’s restaurant therapy at its finest.
777 Bienville Street; 5:30-10p Mon-Thur & Sat, 11:30a-2:30p & 5:30-10p Fri, 10:30a-2p & 5:30-10p Sun; revolutionnola.com; (504) 553-2277