Revolution of new flavors: Chef Wesley Wright debuts new items with ethnic flair at Revolution GrilleWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | email@example.com
Eight months into taking over the kitchen at Revolution Grille, chef Wesley Wright is introducing some ethnic creativity to the menu.
Wright, who is also general manager at the 2-and-a-half year-old eatery at 5333 Monroe St., debuted nine new items to diners in February. Despite his eight years at Ciao!, those assuming Wright would lean heavily on his Italian dining background would be mistaken.
Instead, the classically trained Wright has sought inspiration from all corners of the globe for his latest offerings, including Canada, Africa, India and Asia. New additions to the menu include: beef bourguignon poutine, chipotle tamarind pork, grilled Caesar salad, croque-madame, curried potato flatbread, Wagyu flank, root beer pork, cauliflower steak and Meyer lemon tart.
“[At Ciao!] I was immersed in Italian ingredients, creating Italian specials, working with Italian foods, but I’m classically trained from all around the world,” Wright said. “People thought Revolution Grille was going to go Italian now. I can assure you, that’s not the case.”
While Wright has gotten a favorable response to many items on the list, there are a couple of dishes that have become quick favorites.
Many people are starting their meals off with the beef bourguignon poutine ($10.95), he said. Poutine, which originated in Quebec, Canada, is traditionally French fries topped with brown gravy and cheese curds.
“We’ve taken that and elevated it into a little bit more of a nicer dish where we take fingerling [potatoes], roast those with some herbs, cut them in half and sear them,” Wright said. “So you get that crunchy texture but it’s not a deep-fried, French-fried product. It’s different, a little more classic.” A beef bourguignon short rib gravy is placed atop the dish.
The Wagyu flank ($23.95) is also attracting a lot of attention, Wright said.
Wagyu is “the king of beef,” as Wright explained it. When it comes to Japanese beef, people know Kobe beef but “this is Papa,” he said with a laugh.
“The thought process behind this beef was that this cow is going to live the most relaxed lifestyle possible,” Wright said. “They would feed it a high-fat diet, they’d give it beer, they’d massage it with sake. This animal would live like a king. What this did is enhance the fat, the marbling in the meat.”
Even while serving the king of beef, Wright looks to shake things up for customers.
“I try to do something different with that set too, because people are like ‘steak and potato, steak and potatoes, steak and rice,’” he said. “I get away from that.”
The meat is placed atop Great Northern beans tossed with bone marrow vinaigrette.
For the non-meat crowd, Wright presents the cauliflower steak ($11.95). Here, it’s presented with a harissa tomato sauce and olive-caper-raisin salad.
“We always try to offer something vegan. Not just vegetarian, but vegan,” he said. “Harissa, you see it more and more. It’s a growing ingredient used in sauce a lot. It’s very flavorful.”
Even something as commonplace as a Caesar salad can use a twist.
Revolution Grille creates a grilled Caesar Salad ($7.95) by seasoning and grilling a wedge of Romaine lettuce and adding crispy parmesan, prosciutto crumbles and polenta croutons. The dish may still raise some eyebrows, Wright admits.
“I think people are still at the point where it’s like, ‘A grilled salad? Whoa,’” he said with a laugh.
To finish off the meal, Wright has added a twist of local citrus, of all things, with the Meyer lemon tart ($4.95).
He gets lemons from Hoen’s Garden Center & Landscaping in Holland, where a large Meyer lemon tree grows inside the greenhouse.
“It’s local, and it’s something that’s not going to sit heavy at the end of the meal,” Wright said of the dessert. “I really try to stay with the seasons, and with local ingredients.”
As for the future, Wright is hoping to implement some ideas he brought back from Hawaii, where he recently got married.
He hopes to introduce a little of the 50th state’s flourishing fish scene to Revolution.
“Of course, we don’t want to copy and paste, but we’ll get some ideas and influence and take it back and twist it our way,” he said. “I’ll be bringing some ideas from there, looking at some of the applications they do there.”
For more information, visit revolutiongrille.com.