R’Evolution – New Orleans review

R'Evolution - Espresso-crusted Venison Carpaccio

Espresso-crusted Venison Carpaccio

Even though a Bourbon Street address might make you think otherwise, R’Evolution is a very smart, yet eclectic restaurant. This four year-old jewel of the French quarter earned its great reputation the hard way – by stopping at nothing to impress. Arguably the finest new dining establishment in New Orleans today, chefs Rick Tramonto and John Folse’s Cajun/Creole kitchen marries soulful tradition with rich surprise and their flawless front-of-house team delivers on good old-fashioned service. I know it’s considered “proper”, but I always feel a touch nervous when a waiter lays a napkin on my lap for me. I never know if he might also offer to wipe my mouth (or perform some other function) later on in the evening!

Thanks to a heavy dose of decor drama, the restaurant is divided into several very different rooms; a sumptuous caramel-walled living room, a moody wood-paneled library, a festive gastro-pub etc. But the large white, subway-tiled arch above the kitchen serves as a sobering designer’s record-scratch that forces the diner to remember why we’re here!

It’s seems like everyone in the Crescent City is re-inventing the Beignet these days. Here you can enjoy 4 crab-laced beer batter puffs, each with its own different flavored Remoulade. The unnervingly square shaped Espresso-crusted Venison Carpaccio frames a red debris-field dotted with just about every other shape, color and flavor, from chocolates to grapes to peppers, that collectively frightened the Espresso away. Another perfectly red square, the silky and indulgent, Black Truffle Steak Tartare, had to fight hard for the attention of the grilled country bread against a handsome jar of pork and duck Rillettes with home made pickled vegetables. The dark-mahogany-brown glazed and succulent Rotisserie Duck was definitely born from the richest of Creole roux’s – the kind of satiny sauce you want to take a bath in! The only significant miss was the Filet Mignon with a Lobster Béarnaise – curiously served lukewarm after having spent a good month too many in the aging closet. But the delectable Bouillabaisse transcended your average seafood stew with the lightest of broths that permitted each fish and shellfish to have his or her own unique flavor, creating a carousel of oceanic delight.

To finish the meal we requested Espresso Martini’s. Definitely not on the menu and definitely not familiar to any of the staff. But rather than concede defeat, moments later our brave table captain presented them as proudly as a Louisiana King Cake.



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