Two long-running and complicated sagas will collide soon… which in turn frees us to tell another story about another curious place. Buckle yourself in for the long haul here. The first story is fairly straightforward: Pasteur, a well-regarded Vietnamese restaurant with French-upscale inclinations which opened 23 years ago and had several locations and one fire over the years, was last in existence at 5225 N. Broadway, but closed in 2007. Well past a planned opening toward the end of 2010, Dish reports that it will finally reopen in the Broadway location in early January. Kim Nguyen remains the owner, while one chef will be her ex-husband and the restaurant’s original chef, Dan Nguyen. But another will be peripatetic chef Eric Aubriot, who has occasionally had Asian inclinations (notably at Lure Izakaya), reportedly in the kitchen to bring French touches to the food. That, in turn, has to mean that Aubriot’s brief tenure alongside former Cotes du Rhone chef-owner Brian Moulton at Revolver is over— and that’s a story in itself involving yet another chef… and another Revolver.
It started with Moulton telling people when he closed Cotes du Rhone that he would be taking over the Xippo space on 3759 N. Damen. The space has been owned by a family who’ve operated various taverns in it for around 60 years, but in recent years they’ve leased it to other businesses within the space. When a new spot called Revolver opened in the space, however, Urban Daddy reported that it marked the return of former Tournesol (and Aubriot and many other things) chef Eric Aubriot, with no mention of Moulton. Other sites including this one reported that news— but we were the only one we saw to get a rather heated response saying that no such thing had happened. One Cherie Weinewuth commented on our post:
Eric Aubriot is working with Brian Moulton who was the chef owner of Cotes du Rhone and is responsible for the menu, concept and the name Revolver. Brian Moulton is the chef of Revolver any other perception is completely false. Email him and he will be glad to answer any questions and will be happy to send you a menu firstname.lastname@example.org you can also check out his photography at www.revolverchicago.com
When a friend of ours visited the restaurant and spoke with Moulton, he said essentially what Eater would report around the end of November, that there was a division of labor in which “Moulton serves more as the saucier on the line while Aubriot is more of the expeditor; the two share prep and and overall maintenance duties.” Moulton told Eater he’s “technically the executive chef since he created the concept and the menu, as well as the logo.”
But there’s another chef— and another Revolver— to this story: Michael Bulkowski, who just happens to have an acclaimed restaurant in Findlay, Ohio called Revolver. And who worked within the last few months at a charity dinner with Eric Aubriot— and was apparently none too pleased to learn that Aubriot was at another Revolver— whose logo, as it turned out, was not entirely dissimilar from his own. Bulkowski reportedly visited the Chicago Revolver when he was in town for a recent chef’s dinner, looking for an explanation from Aubriot. What he got was an explanation from Moulton that the name and logo had something to do with what goes around comes around, or something like that. (You can read more of it on the site mentioned by Weinewuth. For his part, Bulkowski says he got the name from a Beatles album. Hey, it beats having named it for the street he’s on… Sandusky.)
In the end, Bulkowski apparently never managed to talk to Aubriot, and when we went into the Chicago Revolver to talk to… somebody (and also to order food, admittedly close to closing time), the kitchen closed up quickly and we never saw whoever was back there. In any case, as you might deduce from the conflicting reports and apparent sensitivity to the subject from Moulton et al., the partnership in the kitchen at Revolver was not meant to last, and we’re not surprised to see Aubriot heading to another new spot. In any case, digging deeply into our earliest foodie memories here, we liked the very first Pasteur (in the location that burned) a lot, and we liked Aubriot (the restaurant) and Aubriot-era Tournesol too, and we hope something good comes of all this tsouris and drama… somewhere.