Chez Madeleine

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Man Behind the Curtain


Kevin Rathbun is the veritable gastronomic mayor in the Old Fourth Ward. He has helped to revitalise the area with his stylish, modern, fresh cuisine. His restaurants are destinations, and I am an addict. I've canoodled in the corner of his Krog Bar, exported by fizzy wine and topiary trees. I've entertained out-of-town guests and boyfriends alike in Rathbun's, always carefully folding and tucking the daily menu into my purse when leaving--reading it later to fantasize about what I may have missed. And this year, his third Opus opened just a week before my 27th birthday. I could not be stopped. My dream was to eat at Kevin Rathbun Steak with my nearest and dearest for my birthday celebration.


The occasion even called for a new dress---an edgy Bill Hallman creation that left me feeling bubbly, tipsy, flirty, and hungry for what Kevin would serve me next. The evening started with drinks in the dark & sexy bar. As we waited for our table, we all nervously fingered our metal drink stirrers. Just one more indication of the "weight" of this occasion. Finally, we were seated in the dining room, 'neath the sprawling branches of the chandelier. I couldn't make out exactly what it was, but it looked a cross between antler and driftwood--dotted by votives.

Halibut Ceviche, Lobster Fritters, and one seafood tower later (lobster, blue pointe oysters, and crab), we were lost in divine seafood bliss, and awaiting our steaks and accompaniments. I ordered the NY Strip with truffle butter. Side dishes were housed in little red cast iron ramekins that reminded me of petite train cars. They covered the table--elbow macaroni & cheese, creamed corn & jalepeno, sweet potatos with gruyere, creamed spinach. We (very unfortunately) were too late for many of our choices--including the twice-baked potato of the day which was gouda and parsley.

It was at this point that Emily whispered something to the server, and I saw the man who had made my culinary dreams come true making his way over to our table. As Kevin approached, I simply uttered "I love you". Like a nervous teenager, I shook in my seat. He smiled his big grin and responded, "I love you too, you just don't know it yet." We were captured, here in a photo--one I will cherish for a long time.

Kevin--thank you for being so passionate about what you do. For serving great food. For being at your restaurants, ever present, instead of just having your name on the sign and calling it a night. For humoring a flirty, drunk woman on the eve of her 27th birthday. I couldn't fit your Kevin Rathbun Steak menu in my purse, but I'll take the memories with me forever, and I'll be back to make more.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gorgeous dress! It's good to have you back!
-your FL fan club

10:12 AM  

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