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Oct 5, 2012 08:00 AM

R'Evolution: eh...

Well, I finally got into R'Evolution last night, and while I enjoyed the food for the most part, I found the overall experience a bit...what's the word? Cold? Sterile?

We had two excellent cocktails at the bar, along with one of the charcuterie boards. Well-chosen, tasty fare, interesting accompaniments to complement the board. Had it with a fun Lambrusco, brought out by the driest, stiff sommelier I've yet encountered in a restaurant such as this. Odd.

Dinner consisted of the Death by Gumbo, Corn and Crab Cappucino, Short Rib, and Pheasant. The two soups couldn't have been any better. My pheasant was a combination breast/confited leg, with some carrots. Short rib was lukewarm. Nothing on the plate, just an unadorned piece of short rib that, while tender and tasty, could've been had at countless restaurants. Suppose they wanted us to delve into the array of sides, which we could've, but I think for the price they charge, some other things on the plate with the lonely short rib was called for.

So, overall, no qualms of note with the food. But the service? Barely attentive, businesslike, no New Orleans warmth. The waiter came to top off our first bottle of wine, and was mystified that nothing was coming out. Problem was, it had been decanted! No big thing, just a funny sight. The same sommelier brought out our wine. I tried to engage him, saying that I'd had this producer's wine before, really liked it, blah blah...nothing. As jovial as a border-crossing guard.

The waiter and captain in our station were pleasant but inattentive. They constantly walked near our table but never made eye contact, causing us to have to ask the busboy to send one of them over. Again, not the end of the world, but we just expected more.

I'll certainly go back, but my first impression is: good but not remotely "Revolutionary".

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  1. I was there last night too. We were in the front room, very pleasant, love the ambiance. I got a similar impression of the service and it was a little disappointing that we waited 30minutes for our reservation, but the bar was nice and comfortable and my drink with the blackberry vodka, mint and the secret ingredient (balsamic vinegar) was awesome.
    I was wowed by the food, however. The death by gumbo was excellent, although the waiter forgot to bring out spoons. The crab beignets were memorable and the bone marrow was good, but I've never had it before so I didn't have anything to compare it to.
    Our entrees were the petit filet for my wife with the blue cheese crust and one of the sauces. I had the scallops and fois gras which tasted superb, but was a little on the lukewarm side. Our friends had the pasta with shrimp and tomato fennel sauce and the duck. Both of their entrees were outstanding.
    For dessert we had the deconstructed banana cream pie and the creme broule plus a little langiappe birthday dessert. The cookie, praline box at the end was a nice touch, but we were already stuffed. WIth a $50 wine, we spent $80pp which I thought was reasonable for the experience.
    It's such a huge menu with so many great options that I will have to return to try some of the other things.
    I understand sanglier's feelings about the sommelier and the general coldness of the place, but I thought of it as more professional than anything else. My friend from Philly didn't like the iPad wine list because he felt it was too NYC. He likes the laidback vibe of New Orleans and this place really wasn't like that.

    3 Replies
    1. re: shanefink

      shanefink, I am curious which of the dining rooms you ended up in?

      1. re: Gizmo56

        The room in between the host stand and the chef’s table. It was not difficult for me to ear at all.

        1. re: shanefink

          Good! I believe that is the "Louisiana Parlor" room, which is the one that I had mentioned to you in the other thread.

    2. Even though my own experience at R'evolution (first weekend in August) was much better overall, certain elements of your critique nevertheless sadly ring true.

      Everything we ordered was great, and the service was very good in terms of timeliness and attentiveness. My quibble at the time was that our primary waiter seemed kind of uptight, and he imparted a slight edge of tension throughout the meal. That was somewhat offset for us by the fact that Chef Folse was on the premises that night, and he greeted us warmly and could not have been any more gracious. I tended to overlook the "tense" wait staff, given that the restaurant had only been in operation for about four weeks, and I also thought Folse being on the premises might have been somewhat intimidating for the new staff.

      I am sorry to learn that two months later the service has not warmed up. The older I get, the more I appreciate the way that "atmosphere" often has less to with "decor" than it does with "service." A good staff imparts a sense of relaxed confidence that makes the patrons feel welcome and comfortable, whether it is in a fine dining establishment or a neighborhood hang-out.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Gizmo56

        Going back a bit, to the end of July, we had some "service issues," but the staff WAS trying. Little things like a server placing a napkin BEHIND a glass, when pouring the water, rather than off to the side, were observed. Some elements of the wine service were also noted, but there WERE discussions going on, with the sommelier and the servers, so I assume that things were in transition?

        We also found some dishes to be a bit "unfinished," but with great potential.

        That is why I have called Restaurant R'evolution a "work in progress." We hope to get back in 2013, and then I might well grade more harshly.


        1. re: Bill Hunt

          We were there in the summer and the impressions I keep reading about - great to amazing to so well done food, keep getting offset but by what the heck about the service. I agree totally. We loved everything- regardless of price. But the service was so off for the experience that you want to say why did the owners not invest the same effort into the wait staff.. Our post dinner experience was better than dinner. We got the grand tour throughout including the kitchen and hellos to the pastry chef. The finale made the dinner event special.

          1. re: Hockey19

            Our service was not bad, in any way. There were a few "ragged edges" with regard to service, but we found a few of those with the dishes too. Lot's of "very good," a bit of "excellent," and then some - "has great potential, but is not there yet."

            We want to go back. One visit, early on, cannot tell the whole story, regarding the few "mis-steps." The good outweighed all less than. The "potential" came through for us. Will it be realized? Only time, and more visits will tell.

            Had we experienced horrible food, or really bad service, on that initial visit, we would never be back. As it was, there WAS so much good, and the "bad," was not THAT bad, just rough.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              FWIW, the tomahawk for two, is far better than the individual ribeyes. We split the crab beignets and the lobster gnocchi ( entree) for apps. The crab beignets were excellent as always. The gnocchi were light and tender. The sauce was a nice compliment to the lobster although too delicately flavored to keep one's interest in the dish overall.

              Added note: We arrive on time for our reservation yet 3 times we had to wait for our table even though there were more than a few empty tables.

              1. re: JazzyB

                With but one visit, we were seated immediately, though probably 5 - 10 mins. early for our reservation. They were busy, though not completely full, at that moment. No complaints, regarding the seating from me.

                We often arrive early, and very seldom even a few minutes late, but having to wait more than about 15 mins. for a reservation does cause a pause, at least for me. I honor reservations completely, and hope that restaurants come close to that - most do.

                Thanks for the info,


      2. We had our first dinner there in September and loved most of the experience. The food we thought was wonderful and some of the best we've had in New Orleans; and service attentive. My only real complaint is they have opted for no table cloths. Now I know this is a real trend even in fine dining restaurants - all over Paris now too- but I guess I'm just old school. Fact is my drink glass as leaving water pools on the table and my sleeves were getting wet. When I asked the waiter for a napkin to put under the glass he actually said, he was so sorry but Chef Folse didn't want napkins on the table. I said, good for the Chef but now please bring me a napkin - and he did. But will I go back? Yes to be sure.

        11 Replies
        1. re: catherinel

          I didn't know that PAris was giving up on tablecloths..probably cost-cutting. Sloppy. What is worse is when the restaurant uses cloth with synthetic and then the silence cloth beneath is some or of padded plastic. the tablecloth slides and next thing you know, one's clothes grab a corner and pull the thing. I have not tried Revolution (I hate that apostrophe..affectation) but have stopped by. I did not realize that no tablecloths was the all-round rule.

          1. re: hazelhurst

            I had dinner there in July and ate in the central dining room. This room was more formal than any of the others and we had white table cloths. Food and service were both excellent and I definitely will dine there again.

            1. re: ruzil

              When we dined, at the end of July, in one of the "outer rooms," (have not gotten the names down yet), we did have white table clothes.


            2. re: hazelhurst

              Just got back, and it was about 40-60, with the Michelin starred restaurants doing table clothes, and then some of the "newer, hipper" spots not, like L'Atelier by Joel Robuchon, but then we WERE at the Chef's Counter, so that might have made a difference. Guess that it just depends on exactly WHERE one dines?


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                How depressing. I remember Old Timers of my youth correctly predicting the death of the New York Central Railroad when the stewards' and waiters' jackets were changed from white to green so as to avoid laundry costs. Green hides stains better/longer. It is a cheap trick and is always a sign of a rot setting in. Avoiding linen altogether is worse. I'd be suspicious. The usual tack, though, is to make the liability an asset and declare the lack of linen "chic."

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Yes - and the same goes for a dearth of black napkins for diners with dark clothing.

                  The times, they are a changing...


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    They definitely still do this at August and Commander's.

                    1. re: noradeirdre

                      And that is greatly appreciated, especially as my wife normally wear black.


                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                      and i always thought that the black napkins were for women with lipstick and men with waxed moustaches

                      1. re: nynola

                        While that might come into play, the ideal is based on the patrons' clothing.

                        Just dined at a higher-end steakhouse in San Francisco, and the napkins were white, though my wife was dressed in black - no black napkins available. I had tons of white "lint" on my navy blazer, and she, on her entire wardrobe. Not the ultimate.


              2. re: catherinel

                Our table (in August) in the "Louisiana Parlor Room" was covered with a table cloth (see photo).

              3. and my take - based on a meal last week was -

                service was actually quite attentive, verging on intrusive - the waiter was extremely knowledgeable - perhaps a tad dictatorial - and we had a nice chat about our respective genealogies

                the food was excellent - but some of the presentation was lacking.

                I find the "tong" method of serving bread off-putting - it seems both parsimonious and pretentious

                Death by Gumbo is a wonderful conceit - and the gumbo base was excellent - but the whole quail thing really doesn't work. Additionally - the large shallow bowl allowed the silverware to slip into the food --

                I had the same china/flatware issue with my entree - duck breast. My companions entree - scallops with foie gras, was fine -

                I allowed myself to be cajoled into the bananas foster souffle - i normally avoid flaming desserts and beverages unless i have an child or an aging relative with me - and it was actually good. My date had the creole cream cheesecake triptych - which was the best part of the meal

                So - in summation -

                good to excellent food, but not the best I've had in NO - and somewhat overpriced

                a handsome but large space - and somehow slightly sterile -

                huge wine list - with a decent assortment of wines by the glass

                knowledgeable wait staff

                we'll give it another try in a month or so to see if we have a different experience

                3 Replies
                1. re: nynola

                  Some great points for any restaurant to consider.

                  <<service was actually quite attentive, verging on intrusive>>

                  This can be a tough call. What might be "intrusive" to some, might be neglectful, for others. When done correctly, there should be little notice of service It should just happen, and the patron might realize that there WAS service, long after their departure. Timing is so very important.

                  <<Additionally - the large shallow bowl allowed the silverware to slip into the food -->>

                  This has been a complaint of mine, for a very long time. The choice of dinnerware, and flatware, can impact on the dinner's overall experience. Thought needs to go into those choices, by the restaurant.

                  <<a handsome but large space - and somehow slightly sterile ->>

                  We dined in the "front room," but am not sure of the official name. We did not encounter any "sterility aspect," but might have overlooked that, for other aspects, that were pretty good.

                  <<huge wine list - with a decent assortment of wines by the glass>>

                  We also enjoyed the wine list, but did think that the "wine service" was still lacking, and a "work in progress," but that was back in July.


                    1. re: kibbles

                      Very nice. I went looking for my notes, to see if I had the make. Could not find them, but think that it was Schott Zwiesel, and an upper-level line. While I do tend to enjoy Ridel, I find that I like their "middle-of-the-road" Vinum line best, so long as the restaurant has the appropriate glasses, like the Vinum Montrachet for big Chardonnays. I will gladly accept a Bdx. stem for my Bdx., my Zins, my Barolos, and my Syrah/Shiraz, but do like my red Burgs in appropriate glasses, and then the same for bigger Chards.

                      As we did not do any wines, that would require decanting, I cannot comment on that aspect of the wine service, or stemware.

                      Originally, the sommelier and our server, wanted to chill the whites more, but we explained that we did not want that - tough call, as many patrons assume that all white wines MUST be heavily chilled, and then placed in ice water. [We even had to fight that (maybe as Americans?) in Paris.]

                      Wish that I had my notes (well, I have them, but could not find them... )