RJ Tao’s, the upscale Asian fusion restaurant in the Heights, will be making the switch to Cafe 5501 in the coming weeks. It will still be under the ownership of Robert Tju and the Chi family, who also own Sushi Cafe.
Tju described Cafe 5501 as New American cuisine, “something casual for your everyday diners.” The variety of surf and turf offerings are a bit more familiar than the occasionally outlandish menu at RJ Tao’s (no more kangaroo burgers) and reasonably priced. Still lots of choices and plenty of flair (pineapple marmalade with the coconut jumbo gulf shrimp, cucumber sunomono salad atop the fried teriyaki burger). Tju said that the menu would change with the seasons.
There’s also a brunch menu, again representing New American standards with some creative touches (lobster ravioli over cheese grits!) and they are developing a wine bar within the restaurant.
Cafe 5501 will have a pre-opening next week and expects to have a grand opening in about two weeks. They’ll be open for breakfast and lunch Fri.-Sun. 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and dinner 7 nights a week 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., with a happy hour 4-7.
As for RJ Tao’s, Tju said that he thought that the concept and food were good but the size and location weren’t right for the upscale steakhouse and lounge. He said that they may try the RJ Tao’s concept again in the future, perhaps on Main Street.