Tramonto, right, with FolseBefore splitting town for New Orleans, Rick Tramonto (formerly of Tru and Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood) gave us the scoop on Restaurant R’evolution, a 200-seat spot he’s unveiling with John Folse in the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street in the summer of 2011.
D: Tell us about R’evolution.
RT: We’re taking the multiple cultures of Cajun/Creole–inspired food and now bringing in Rick Tramonto and what Rick Tramonto does with that food. It will become our own food revolution in that property.
D: What does that mean?
RT: The bar will have lots of little plates, but the dining room will be pretty upscale as far as refinement and service and cheese programs. And the menu will have an icon dish section—New Orleans étouffée, turtle soup, gumbos—but with our spin. Rick Tramonto-ized, if you will.
D: What would be your spin on turtle soup?
RT: Turtle cappuccino with truffle spuma and cubes of sherry gelée, which melt in and give that sherry flavor.
D: Will the room be equally modern?
RT: The feel of the room will be almost like the revolution of design. Like an old French mansion, with pocket doors and crown molding separating rooms, but with an open state-of-the-art kitchen. Two chef tables, a glassed-in wine room. A salumi cave. At Tru, we had contemporary museum–quality artwork; here there will be museum-quality artifacts from Louisiana. John has this incredible American Indian collection of some of the first knives that were found. And the first pontoon boat that was carved by hand out of balsa wood.
D: Should we know who John Folse is?
RT: He’s a pretty fascinating guy from southern Louisiana. An amazing chef, a historian with 11 cookbooks, 15 years on PBS. He has a food manufacturing company that does all the dairy for Whole Foods. Has his own culinary school at Nicholls State University [in Louisiana].
D: So you’re done with Chicago?
RT: I’ll spend the next year in New Orleans. I will go back and forth somewhat, but 75 percent of my time will be there. I’m still trying to do my restaurant company, my steak house, and osterias in another city. But my home base becomes New Orleans.
Photograph: Courtesy of Rick Tramonto