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R'evolution

w
WesTexas Jan 3, 2014 01:23 PM

Just got back form a fun & memorable NO trip. Had truly excellent meals at August, Herbsaint & Cochon Butcher. Peche was fun & tasty as well. A few other average type places were as expected (Cafe Adelaide, Tableau).

R'evolution was surely skipable. Some if my companions enjoyed a few of their dishes (sweatbreads, bread service, duck) but fully half of our dishes had something majorly wrong with them. Turtle soup seemed to have 10x times the amount of clove/allspice that it should have had (100x?) There is no way a manager tasted that batch. Scallops were unbearably salty. The petit fours "surprise box" at the end of the meal was most likely a used one from a previous table, presented in the most clunky way possible. Not cheap either. I would avoid.

The place looked nice & servers were nice enough, but yikes.

  1. t
    timp1959 Feb 6, 2014 01:36 PM

    I’m going to make a statement that is a really big deal for me. Restaurant R’evolution is the best dining experience we’ve had in the United States. Alinea in Chicago is more of a culinary adventure. Spoon in Dallas certainly offers a memorable and beautifully crafted seafood experience. I’ve done all the Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio and David Burke establishments in NYC and they each have their memorable qualities. Love eating in Charleston as well as Etch, Husk, Margot and Lockeland Table in Nashville. We’ve done the best of San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma. I love the work of Bobby Flay and especially Marc Forgione. While I lived in Southeast Asia I had many memorable dinners. We’ve certainly had meals in France and Italy that would be at the top of the list for food alone. However, for us the efforts of Chefs Tramonto and Folse and their staff will be the standard that all future fine dining establishments are held to.

    First, there was a mix up with our reservation. When they realized it was their mistake they immediately went to work to make sure we were not disappointed. When they said they could seat us I thought, “two top by the bathroom”. NO, we were in a lovely dining room looking out on to the courtyard of The Royal Sonesta Hotel.

    We were seated side-by-side in a banquette…instantly making us (gay couple) the Stars of the room. In a matter of seconds we met “our staff”…all three of them…Alejandro, John and Luke. However, in the course of the evening we had no less than eight servers, including two managers and Chef Folse making sure we were having a perfect evening. (Side note) As we departed Alain Ducasse at The Plaza Athenee in Paris we were asked how we enjoyed our evening. We responded,” the food was only second to the beauty of the servers”. Well, not all of our servers were runway model beautiful (they were in Paris) but their work was like a well rehearsed ballet and their demeanor was the pinnacle of professionalism. The food was absolutely standard setting in composition as well as flavor profiles. We had two appetizers, a salumi board, two entrees and a bottle of wine and the check was only $200. I've spent a lot more money for not nearly the dining experience we enjoyed. Who has ever heard of a jar of duck liver mousse that was like Thai Silk being $5 and coming with four condiments, nuts, dried fruits and grilled bread...WHAT?!?!?! We are still reeling over what an incredible place this is.

    1 Reply
    1. re: timp1959
      k
      kibbles Feb 7, 2014 12:25 PM

      i do really enjoy their meat pots -- w/ the supplied accoutrement they're an incredible value.

    2. s
      shanefink Jan 9, 2014 05:52 PM

      Nice cameo on Top Chef for R’evolution. That table with Jaques Pepin, Tom Colicchio, Rick Tromonto, John Folse, Emeril, Julian Serrano and Dominique Crenn was quite a collection.

      1. h
        hoggybobby Jan 8, 2014 10:56 PM

        I know this thread is really about R'evolution, but I have to respond to the comments about Coop's. I know the phenomenon of thinking a dive's food is better than it is because it was so unexpected having good food in a dive and it is neat to say look how bad the setting is but look how good the food is. And I know tourists have discovered Coop's (although not anywhere near the extent that they have discovered lots of other places). But my experience, over a half dozen visits over a half dozen years, is that Coop's is great. When my son scouted it out, his group was the only table in there, and the service was bad, but the food was so good he still raved about it. Every time back the food AND service have both been great. It would be nice if the tourists had not discovered Coop's at all, but if they know a good thing now, so be it. We thought about skipping it on our last visit, in December. But after we went we said "What were we thinking?". In its own way it was as good as Luke's, Antoine's, Clancy's, R'evolution, Upperline, Peche, etc., anywhere we went, some of the best restaurants in the best food city in America as far as I am concerned.

        1. h
          hoggybobby Jan 7, 2014 03:38 AM

          We went to R'evolution last week (along with Clancy's, Antoine's, Luke, SouBou, Peche, Broussard's, Coop's, Kingfish, K-Paul's, and Upperline). R'evolution, we all agreed, was fantastic. I am a '72 Tulane grad and have been going to New Orleans for 50 years, and our 89 year old French Quarterite friend loved it too. Her shell-on shrimp remoulade was outstanding. My Turbodog Stout chocolate cake dessert was amazing. The food was refined AND authentically spicy. BTW, Coop's was as outstanding as always, and I see that place trashed here too. Sure, opinions differ, but you can't believe everything you read on the Internet, even on Chowhound, and one bad review is just one person's opinion (and the same goes for good ones, but our crowd was unanimous in their opinions about Coop's and R'evolution).

          2 Replies
          1. re: hoggybobby
            b
            Blumie Jan 7, 2014 07:32 AM

            OT for this thread, but with respect to Coop's: I've been a Coop's fan for 25 years, but largely stopped going not because the food is no longer good, but because it's so overrun with tourists. My guess is that most of the travel guidebooks caught on to what a find Coop's was and now list it as a must-visit dive bar/restaurant in the Quarter. Every time I go by there's a line out the door.

            Last Thursday night, however, I decided to swing by with a friend around 9:30pm and, although crowded, was able to score two seats at the bar (which is where I prefer to sit at Coop's). It's been quite some time since I've been, and was disappointed that my favorite hillbilly bartenders were not there. (Not sure if they no longer work there or if it was a night off for them.) We ordered drinks and dinner, and then waited. And waited. And waited. After half an hour, the bartender asked if we had gotten our food. We said no. Then we waited. And waited. After 45 minutes, we asked him what was up. He stomped back to the kitchen and emerged with my friend's salad. And then we waited some more. After an hour, we told the bartender to forget our order, and that we were leaving. He clearly was frustrated (although probably not as frustrated as we were), and was nice enough not to charge us for anything (two rounds of drinks and a small side salad).

            I don't report this as anything but a glitch. I have no idea what went wrong -- did the bartender forget to submit our order? did the kitchen lose our order? -- but something clearly went wrong. We saw plenty of food emerge from the kitchen as we were waiting, but not ours. A glitch like this shouldn't happen, but it can happen anywhere. It was just particularly frustrating as I was looking forward to my first Coop's meal in a long time. And, by the time we finally extracted ourselves, the kitchen at Sylvain's and most other alternatives had closed. Definitely left a sour taste. But I'm sure I'll be back next time I happen to be by when there's no line out the door.

            1. re: Blumie
              k
              kibbles Jan 8, 2014 10:11 AM

              bummer. never got the thrill of the food there myself, while i appreciate the dive environment. my pet theory is people used to more upstanding environments are tickled by the dive and have made the food out to be greater than it is in their minds because of it. i mean who doesnt want to discover a dive w/ amazing down-home comfort food?

              but St. Lawerence is open late, and has food that is a notch above standard bar fare...so next time id recommend swinging by there.

          2. t
            thistle5 Jan 4, 2014 04:40 PM

            How was Peche? That's the one that's most interesting to me, I love seafood.

            4 Replies
            1. re: thistle5
              w
              WesTexas Jan 5, 2014 07:09 AM

              We had a great time at Peche.

              We had oysters, shared a few small plates & had a whole red snapper. It was upbeat - we spent this evening more "hanging out" than analyzing every dish & bite of food. No complaints, would return without question.

              1. re: WesTexas
                karendor Jan 9, 2014 02:52 PM

                Thanks WT for your trip report above. +1 on great time at Peche; our experience very similar: "....more "hanging out" than analyzing every dish & bite of food. No complaints, would return without question."

                I am so glad we had a larger party at Peche; it is a great spot to be at a round table with fun folks digging into a big fish.

                Sorry to hear about your/kibbles/others' not great experience at R'ev. I had it on my to do list to nibble "at the bar" because of their cellar, but it may have to wait.

                1. re: karendor
                  k
                  kibbles Jan 10, 2014 12:19 PM

                  oh, i wouldnt advocate not doing that. i enjoy much of their menu (it is an unusually large one), and we in general prefer bar dining as a means of getting familiar with a place. it just was more endearing to us when the staff we got to know were around. table service has been a little goofy/off, which is surprising considering how serious the service wants to be (captains and managers are stoic suit-men, etc..)

                  1. re: karendor
                    h
                    hltran Jan 14, 2014 05:05 AM

                    I actually recommend you check out revolution it's the most beautiful restaurant in New Orleans currently! Karen do you like Foie gras? That's where I tried my first experience with it . I was soo happy it was buttery and it came with walnut and dried fruit and crispy thin French Bread it was perfect! I didn't order desert but others did and what came out was a piece of Art. I for one hope this place is around for at least another 10 yrs

              2. z
                zin1953 Jan 4, 2014 04:33 PM

                This IS depressing -- our meal at R'evolution was one of the highlights of our trip, and we were looking forward to our return . . . well, perhaps not.

                (sigh)

                To be honest, there are too many great restaurants in New Orleans to risk it . . .

                8 Replies
                1. re: zin1953
                  h
                  hazelhurst Jan 4, 2014 07:30 PM

                  I'll argue in favor of tolerance: It will take years for Revolution to be established. In my view it never will be an enduring place. It may wellhave superb wine, might have great fish...but will it even be a restaurant? Will it ever "be?" Will it ever be a "place?" I don't know that it can ever become a place...perhaps....

                  1. re: hazelhurst
                    z
                    zin1953 Jan 6, 2014 11:18 AM

                    I hear you, and while I *do* agree, when you're only in town for one week at a time (as opposed to a resident), I think it's a better (safer?) bet to skip R'evolution on this trip, while I keep an eye on what the locals have to say about it in future posts. Perhaps we'll add it back to our list for our Fall trip, or in the Spring of 2015.

                    Meanwhile . . . geaux Saints!

                    1. re: zin1953
                      Bill Hunt Jan 10, 2014 07:02 PM

                      Jason,

                      That has also become our mantra - go with a few "known entities," and add a couple of the vaunted "new places." That is why it will be a very long time, before we ever go back to Drago's at the Hilton - drop every ball, all night long, and you go to the back of our line.

                      Still, we found some things to like about R'Evolution, and both hoped that they would sort out what we saw as issues, improving, as they went.

                      Still, our "NOLA Time" is always limited now, and there are so many great restaurants, plus some that might be in that group, that are either too new for us, or have just been passed over, until the next trip, because of too little time.

                      It's similar for us, in San Francisco. We're there about 15x per year on average, and have three days, on most visits. On Sunday, I get to dine with my wife, and we go to a "known restaurant." On many of the Mondays, she's in meetings with dinner, so I head out, exploring, as a solo diner. When I hit a good one, it is then booked for the next Sunday, and the cycle continues. If I get to dine with my wife on both nights, we go with her choices, and those almost always are restaurants, that have impressed her, and bring her joy. I am the "scout," and only share the real "wins" with her, on one of the next trips. Little time for "mistakes."

                      Hunt

                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                        s
                        shanefink Jan 11, 2014 08:08 AM

                        It’s been a while since I’ve been to San Francisco. Last time I was there, I ate at a great restaurant called Farallon. Is it still good?

                        1. re: shanefink
                          Bill Hunt Jan 11, 2014 05:50 PM

                          We often have Farallon in our mix - about every 3 - 4 trips, and love it. We have never had less than a very good meal there.

                          Now, we are saddened, as their sommelier, Jennifer Gomez, has moved to Comis in Berkeley, but the crew is trying to make up for her departure.

                          We are not dining there tomorrow, or Monday, but likely will in early Feb.

                          We ran upon them, just after their hard opening, so have been dining there for about 15 years, give, or take.

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                            z
                            zin1953 Jan 14, 2014 12:30 PM

                            Don't be sad, Bill -- we'll go to Commis . . . or perhaps Iyasare.

                            1. re: zin1953
                              Bill Hunt Jan 17, 2014 05:45 PM

                              Jason,

                              That would be great. A friend of mine just accepted the sommelier job there, and I really want to dine with her again. She left Farallon, and moved "across the bay."

                              We will make that happen.

                              Hunt

                  2. re: zin1953
                    k
                    kibbles Jan 8, 2014 10:06 AM

                    if you enjoyed it, i certainly wouldnt advocate omitting it. they do a lot of things right...my guests have enjoyed many of the only-in-Louisiana dishes they showcase and pull off quite well.

                  3. Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2014 05:40 PM

                    This is saddening to read. We were there, shortly after the hard opening, and while not overwhelmed, though that a great potential was there. We have not been able to get back, so hoped that the potential had been realized. It appears that it has not been. This is too bad, but sometimes a restaurant can see the gold ring, but just not reach it.

                    Thanks for reporting.

                    Hunt

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                      k
                      kibbles Jan 4, 2014 08:38 AM

                      I enjoyed it when they first opened and went frequently, but our bond diminished. first they turned over all the bar staff which we had grown to be friends with. the other bit was more personal in nature -- we're customers of Folse's commercial business, and they had messed up a big order. well the other year we were dining there on Christmas Eve and Folse was parading the dining room. I introduced myself, thinking he'd come back to our table and introduce himself to my SO and business partner, perhaps apologize for the screw up with a dessert or something silly, but no such luck. we're no longer customers.

                      1. re: kibbles
                        h
                        hazelhurst Jan 4, 2014 01:23 PM

                        Oh dear, that IS depressing. I will say this for Folse: a friend had a disastrous dinner at his Whie Oak job in Baton Rouge and complained. Folse invited them all back and Made It Right, no cost. I was not at either affair so cannot say anything other than that my friend Al knew his stuff so I take him at his word.

                        It is annoying that the Maestro would not be alive to your commercial business disaster. On the other hand, he's got a good size Empire these days..who can remember everyone?

                        I'm no fan, though. As home cook he might be OK but pretensions to haute cuisine are annoying. Too much hype (TV hype, which is worst of all). Cook me a decent etoufee and keep the goddamn kale away from me. Toast points, fried capers...keep the presentation stuff for Service a la Russe..which no one can pull of anymore.

                        1. re: hazelhurst
                          k
                          kibbles Jan 8, 2014 10:04 AM

                          true enough. tho in our case, it was a special project he was involved with personally and the problem cost us dearly. but we had worked together via phone and email only, so i thought our first in-person would be more...personable, considering the rocky road. oh well. plenty of good restaurants in town to choose from.

                          the bar staff was amazing, and we enjoy patronizing them at the various places theyve landed.

                        2. re: kibbles
                          Bill Hunt Jan 10, 2014 06:45 PM

                          Kibbles,

                          Thank you for the update. The words that came to my mind were "potential," and "promise." Guess there is a distance, between living on those, and realizing them. That is sad. Some folk follow their press too closely, loosing any dream.

                          We want one more go, but I will not hold my breath.

                          Appreciated.

                          Hunt

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