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Former Loulay Chef Aiming High to Crowdfund Capitol Hill Restaurant

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Rob Sevcik is hard at work on Galerie 23

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Rob Sevcik
Rob Sevcik
Courtesy of Galerie 23

Chef Rob Sevcik kicked off a crowdfunding campaign last week in an attempt to launch his new Capitol Hill fine-dining restaurant, Galerie 23. Sevcik was most recently chef de cuisine at fancy French eatery Loulay, which he departed this summer to start work on his own venture. He also spent time at owner Thierry Rautureau’s now-closed restaurant, Rover’s.

The Indiegogo campaign aims to raise a whopping $325,000, which Sevcik says would allow him to purchase an existing restaurant on Capitol Hill. In addition to the lofty monetary goal, he's set the ambitious timeline of securing the space and opening by late fall.

The restaurant’s concept is a bit farther along than the real estate dealings. "The concept for Galerie 23 is simple: The entire dining experience must be inviting and creative," the Indiegogo page reads. "A beautiful environment, comfortable seating, enticing aromas, and delicious food all add up to the perfect night out." Sevcik promises seasonal menus that change daily and a dining room modeled after an elegant art gallery.

galerie 23 fb

[Photo: Galerie 23/FB]

Expect tasting menus that include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, with wine pairings available. Sevcik plans to rely heavily on French cuisine with a smattering of techniques and flavors from other cultures, too. Sevcik will offer flexibility when it comes to substitutions, saying that his wife’s health issues have made it difficult to dine at upscale restaurants.

Though the menu isn’t finalized yet, you might see dishes like Sonoma foie gras with brown butter cake and compressed rhubarb, diver’s scallop with garlic shoot-bacon ragout and espresso flan, and chilled hazelnut potage with orange supremes and lemongrass gastrique. Drinks will range from local and international wines, and an ever-changing list of house cocktails with unique and seasonal ingredients.

At press time, Galerie 23 has raised a little more than $2,000 with a month remaining in the flexible funding campaign, which means Sevcik has the ability to keep whatever he raises whether or not he hits his goal. However, Sevcik says he is only planning to keep the money if he can follow through on his plans to purchase a space and open a restaurant; otherwise, he'll return the funds to donors.