The Overnight Saint-sation – Breckenridge Vodka, Fresh Blackberries and Raspberries, Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, Angostura Bitters
Marinated Octopus with Apples and Fennel
Duck Fat Brioche and Whole Wheat Sourdough with Salted Butter, Steen’s Sweet Butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
“Pig Out” Board – Coppa, Prosciutto San Daniel, Lomo, Soppressata, Jamon Iberico Chorizo, Boar’s Head Cheese, Mortadella, Pickled N’duja, Orange-Fennel Jam, Mustard, Eggplant Caponata, Onion Marmalade, Pickled Vegetables and Toasted Ciabatta
Beer-Battered Crab Beignets – Four Rémoulades, Cajun Slaw
Death by Gumbo – Roasted Quail, Andouille, Oysters, Filé Rice
Foie Gras Peaches and Cream – Creole Cream Cheese, Blueberries
Creole Cream Cheese Potatoes and Mascarpone Grits
Sheep Ricotta Gnocchi with Lobster – Vanilla, Tarragon, Lobster Roe
Feliciana Sweet Potato Risotto – Gulf Shrimp, Mustard Frill, Sweet Potato Tostones, Romano
Triptych of Quail – Southern-Fried with Biscuits and Gravy, Boudin-Stuffed, Absinthe-Glazed with Dirty Rice
Jewel Box of Mignardises – Brownie, Pistachio Cookie, Blueberry Financier, Chocolate Covered Potato Chip, White Chocolate Ginger, Praline, Fig Blondie
Maple Bread Pudding Crème Brulee – Smoked Pecans, Sour Cherry, Rye Whiskey
Steen’s Toffee Pudding – Apple, Walnut, Calvados
Cushaw Souffle – Speculoos, Burnt Cinnamon Ice Cream
Last seeing Chef Rick Tramonto’s work presented to tables across the room at TRU in 2008, but paying close attention to the accumulating accolades for his Restaurant R’Evolution ever since the space opened on Bienville Street in June of 2012, it was with high expectations that a party of three entered the Royal Sonesta New Orleans for a 7:00pm reservation on Thursday, a short wait at the hostess stand quickly followed by a tall, middle-aged man leading us to our seats.
Packed past capacity, the bar three deep with numerous dining rooms full of boisterous diners, it was with menus in hand that the table was soon approached by a server questionably on Speed or some sort of Caffeine bender, his rapid speech prone to tripping over itself but eventually able to regroup and offer recommendations regarding what he felt was best, though little of the obvious up-selling managed to fit our tastes.
Taking pride in its seasonality, sourcing and extensive Wine list, Tramonto’s famous “Caviar Staircase” offered alongside house-cured Charcuterie displayed via glass windows in a Meat locker towards the back, Restaurant R’Evolution embraces fine dining as an event not unlike the Galatoire’s and Arnaud’s of yesteryear, luxury ingredients not infrequent or small in their portion sizes while most of the patrons are dressed business-casual, at least.
Serving in team-format, a well-versed and professional captain describing many of the plates including an amuse of tender Octopus as well as a Chef’s choice “Pig Out Board” highlighted by acid-tinged N’duja alongside funky Headcheese that went well with not only its accoutrements but also the housemade Duck Fat Brioche and Whole Wheat Sourdough, more great bites were found in Beer-battered Crab Beignets, each tender puff made even better by way of its own distinct Rémoulade.
Continuing appetizers with Death by Gumbo, a deboned Quail stuffed with Filé Rice exploding to knife pressure and thickening the dark Roux teaming with Sausage and Oysters, an even more impressive idea was presented by way of thinly sliced Peach Carpaccio mixed with tangy Cream Cheese and topped by reduced Blueberries, Duck Liver and lightly brûléed Sugar.
Showing well with side dishes, both the Mascarpone Grits and creamy Mashed Potatoes more than enough to share, entrees showed an eye towards balance as feather-light Gnocchi took on Vanilla’s aromatics to pair with fresh Lobster Meat, the Sweet Potato Risotto a far more hearty dish topped in charred yet snappy Shrimp amidst crispy orange Chips and briny Mustard Greens.
Slowly working through Tramonto’s trio of Quail, the Southern-Fried version and that glazed in light Licorice notes significantly more interesting than a stuffed Bird that failed to meet the high standard set by the Gumbo, desserts were announced by a Jewel Box of Mignardises that unfortunately found most items difficult to share, the properly plated choices a far different story as the Squash Soufflé arrived tall and proud with Cookie Coated Ice Cream alongside two sorts of Pudding, the steamy Steen’s Cake unapologetically sugary while the Caramelized Maple Bread Pudding was lent balance by Booze and Black Cherries.