Rouge Ripple

Chef Joseph Gutierriz wants more quality Tutto time. That's why the Tutto founder just sold his tapas restaurant Rouge to a pair of cousins with whom he once worked at the Voltaire/Bamboo Bamboo evolutionary progression before it morphed into a highly stylized bank. "The food will be the same. I will not be there. I can tell you that," Gutierriz says. The new owners are George and Juan Garcia, who also had front-of-the-house gigs at Sambuca (George) and Mercy, A Wine Bar (Juan) before they plowed their savings into Rouge. "Everything is going to be the same," says George Garcia, whose Bamboo Bamboo career was cut short by the war in Iraq. "When the war was just about to break out I got activated," he says. "So I had to give up the restaurant." But by the time he was set to deploy, major combat operations were over--followed shortly by the Bamboo Bamboo bombing. Lesson: Don't use a war to avoid restaurant service.

Now that kitchen athlete Todd Erickson has scrambled from Hector's on Henderson because the restaurant is allegedly "delinquent on a lot of payments," he's having a Tryst. Erickson is now executive consulting chef for an upscale feeder called Tryst, which is adjacent to the Gilley's Music Complex and has a sports bar underbelly called Nellie's. Juices flow here. Credit menu options like chicken-fried oysters Rockefeller and lamb chop lollipops. It takes real guts to serve lamb lollipops in a place called Tryst, which may explain Tryst's VIP lounge. Lubed with family loot, Tryst is a project executed by 23-year-old club veteran Brittney O'Daniel. But Erickson won't be around the operation long enough after the March 3 opening to see his lollipops come in seasonal game flavors. He's training for a new restaurant in the master-planned Victory project. What's it called? No comment. What's the cuisine? Can't disclose. Who are the owners? "I actually wore a hard hat and a neon-orange vest for the first time yesterday," he says. When pressed, he says the owners are Dallas restaurant operators with several venues under different names. "You're not going to get it out of me," he says. "We're going to rock it out."...Dallas Roof Gardens, a downtown complex on Main Street that includes the upscale LuQa, the semi-private lounge Petrus, the Betty Anne Smith Gallery and a bevy of banquet "suites" set amongst office space, is set to open in early May. LuQa's kitchen will be headed by David Gilbert, a cook who has whipped and seared at places like the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead and the Chase Park Plaza Hotel's Café Eau & Bistro in St. Louis. In 2004 Gilbert was named Best Chef in St. Louis by our sister fish wrap The Riverfront Times.

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Mark Stuertz
Contact: Mark Stuertz

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