by Ian McNulty
The Rib Room, opened in 1961, is a New Orleans original, and it has a unique niche in the French Quarter. It’s also part of the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, a link in the Dallas-based Omni Hotels chain, and as such when the company’s food and beverage department starts a new, themed culinary campaign across its properties the Rib Room takes part.
The latest campaign is a continuation of the Omni’s Flavors of the World series, in which restaurants at Omni hotels around the country focus on the cooking traditions of one region. Here, however, the Rib Room has some room to stand apart after all. That’s because the cooking traditions of France are the bread and butter of its chef, Rene Bajeux.
Bajeux, a native of Alsace-Lorraine in eastern France, is a well-known, well-traveled chef in New Orleans. His restaurant Rene Biströt was a contender for the city’s best French restaurant during its too-brief tenure in the years before Katrina. In the years that followed, Bajeux had a short stint at John Besh’s La Provence in Lacombe and then undertook a series of moves outside Louisiana before his appointment this spring at the Rib Room.
That return seemed like a homecoming for the chef, who first came to New Orleans in 1996. Certainly, it has sparked a needed and promising rejuvenation of the potentially epic Rib Room, a restaurant custom-cut for holiday banquets and post-game celebrations.
The Flavors of the World menu was unveiled this week and it is available at lunch and dinner through Dec. 24 alongside the restaurant’s regular menu.
Here’s Bajeux’s menu for the promotion:
Duck and Walnut Pate, Red Wine Mustard, Fig Compote $9.5
Feuilleté of Burgundy Escargot Provençal, Basil Garlic Butter and Pernod $9
Onion Soup Franc Comtoise $9
Tartine of Brie with Mountain Ham, Tomato Coulis and Concasse of Red Grapes $9.5
Rotisserie Half Duck, Balsamic Honey Glaze, Roasted Root Vegetable, Sweet Potato, Thyme Jus $24
New York Sirloin au Poivre, Celeriac Brown Butter Purée, Haricot Verts, Cognac Black Peppercorn Sauce $35
Seared Salmon, Ragout of Mushrooms and Eggplant Niçoise, Beurre Rouge $29
Roulade of Red Snapper with Gulf Shrimp, Julienne of Winter Squash, Champagne Velouté $25
Profiterole with Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream, Milk Chocolate Sauce $6
Crêpes with Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse and Banana $6
Bouchée of Stone Fruit with New Orleans Spiced Rum Cream $6
The Rib Room
621 St. Louis St., 529-7045