Chef team preps for restaurant opening

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - R'evolution, the new French Quarter restaurant by the chef team of John Folse and Rick Tramonto, aims for a department-store-like scope, swinging from fancy spaces worthy of coat-and-tie dining to casual settings for quick bites.

There's an 1830s Italian chandelier and hand-painted mural in the Storyville Parlor, or you can grab a beer in the indigo-stained bar.

R'evolution is set to open on June 4 in the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

Folse, a Louisiana chef/businessman, and Tramonto, who made a name for himself in Chicago, have been nurturing the concept for the restaurant for two years.

It's designed with a multimillion-dollar budget. And while not a dish has yet been sampled by the public, the dining rooms and decor alone are creating buzz.

The tables are set with Limoges china. Hand-blown glass fruit are the centerpieces, and the lounge features a cabinet brimming with historical curiosities. Among the eyebrow-raising: Robert E. Lee's diminutive camp stove and a spoon from the captain's table of the ill-fated luxury liner Lusitania.

Attention to detail is high. The door knobs, cast in Lithuania, feature monogrammed Rs. The 12-seat table in the Market Room is sinker cypress dredged up from the swamp by the History Channel's "Ax Men."

A few years back, Folse published his 850-page-plus work "The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine." R'evolution appears to be the book re-imagined as a restaurant.

"Nothing we do at R'evolution is without a reason. Everything reflects the seven nations" that contributed to Louisiana's culinary melting pot, the chef said, pointing to the mural depicting French, Spanish, Germans, Italians, Acadians, Native Americans and African-Americans.

The menu's task will be to refine such a far-reaching concept. Executing it - in dishes such as oysterman's spaghettini, a house-made pasta with a Creole tomato cream sauce, oysters and shaved bottarga, or the triptych of kurobuta pork, a swine celebration of "pork belly, smoked tail and crispy ear" - will fall to chef Chris Lusk, formerly of Cafe Adelaide, and executive sous chef Erik Veney, who previously worked with chef Scott Boswell at Stella!

The kitchen has been outfitted with granite plating stations and the "fish file," a house-designed refrigerated cabinet for holding seafood.

Both chefs have national reputations and television personalities. But after years of planning, they seem like teenagers let loose with a new sports car, ready to take it for a spin.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)