Revel certainly has something going for it, considering that I’ve already eaten there four times since it opened last month. It’s not just that it’s down the street from where I work in Fremont, though that’s certainly a bonus. What has me coming back each time is knowing that I’ll soon be digging into a comforting Korean dumpling or noodle dish, and that there’s always something new to try.
Housemade condiments: prik nam pla (fish sauce with lime juice and Korean chilies), garlic soy ginger, sweet bean, chili sauce; restaurant interior; delicata squash, Early Grey ricotta, and pecan dumpling.
Revel is the second restaurant from husband-and-wife team Seif Chirchi and Rachel Yang. They somehow managed to keep their highly-praised first restaurant Joule running, give birth to their child last summer, and open Revel just a few months later.
The new restaurant space is completely open, with a full view of the kitchen from every table, and a long shared bar and kitchen work area. I really like the casual atmosphere, which makes it easy to bring along my 1-year-old and watch him devour pork belly pancakes and delicata squash dumplings. Plus, there’s a sizeable deck in the back that I’m looking forward to hanging out on as much as possible this summer.
Clockwise from top-left: Five-spiced duck balls, lacinato kale, smoke chili noodles, with fried shallots on top; ice cream sandwiches: coconut macaroon, Kaffir lime, with cherry compote, and vanilla pound cake, coffee, with milk jam; short rib, sambal daikon, mustard green rice with egg yolk.
The menu is just the right size: the lunch/dinner offering is one page with three dishes per category, including salad, (savory) pancakes, dumplings, rice, noodles, and ice cream sandwiches. The staff recommends that your table shares several dishes, which I’ve done on each visit, but you could easily go it alone if that’s your preference. My favorite plates so far are the corned lamb, arugula, and nuoc cham salad (with just the right amount of spicy kick in the nuoc cham), the short rib, shallot, and scallion dumplings (perfect for dipping in some prik nom pla or other condiments), and the five-spiced duck balls with noodles and fried shallots. You might see the menu described as offering “Korean street food,” but our Korean friend Kye assures us it is not. You’re better off thinking of Revel as serving inventive, Korean-influenced fare. And then there’s dessert: how can you go wrong with a place that focuses solely on ice cream sandwiches? Dawn and I both give a thumbs-up to the coconut macaroon sandwich with cherry compote.
Brunch is a new, welcome addition as of this past weekend. The categories read similarly (eggs, pancakes, sandwiches, porridge, and soup) with a couple of choices for each. The Kalbi burger (made from marinated beef short ribs) with bacon and shallot pickle is diminutive in size, but was dripping with juicy goodness and may in fact be our favorite burger in Seattle now. We were split on other dishes. Dawn loved the andouille, shrimp, and ginger-scallion porridge, noting that the ginger gave the dish a subtle sweetness throughout. I preferred the kimchi ramen, pork belly, and egg soup; the ramen might have been slightly undercooked, but the spicy kimchi was the perfect contrast to the richness of the soup.
403 N 36th St, Seattle, WA