April 14th, 2011

Sarah Goes To Revel in Fremont.

Revel, the edgier younger sister of Wallingford’s Joule, sits poised to become a hot spot on the Fremont scene. There is no point in comparing the two restaurants and siblings really don’t like that. The genetic link between the two is the flavorful and deft cooking going on in both kitchens.

The open shotgun layout of Revel is minimally decorated and drips with urban cool.  Guests can choose to saddle up to the Redwood sized wood table and study the chef’s every move or retire to the tables lining the back wall. While you decide on dinner try one of the cleverly named artisanal drinks from Quoin, the bar next door.  I tried the lychee basil soda, quite refreshing. 

At first glance the menu may seem limited in its options with six headings: salads, pancakes, dumplings, rice, noodles, and dessert. We sampled from all of the headings except dessert, no room at the end of the night. The shrimp and edamame pancake, garnished with a salad of fresh edamame beans, shredded carrot, and shiso was crunchy, sour, and rich. The dumplings arrived with four dipping sauces that turned into the stars of the evening. Ginger soy sauce was dribbled over the dumplings which were tasty. But, the filling flopped out of its dumpling shell after the first bite. The fish sauce, itself garnished with Thai chilies added punch and another dimension to the tuna confit salad. I didn’t try the bean paste, but everyone else at the table couldn’t stop snacking on it. The rice bowl I chose came with sautéed shitake mushrooms, grilled kale, and togarashi spiced walnuts (addictive). The chili sauce brightened the grilled kale which was charred and bitter, but in a good way. This particular menu item was very filling. It comes with a lot of rice. Perfectly cooked, chewy, sticky short grain rice, but a fair quantity none the less. My dining companion enjoyed a dish of noodles with five spice duck meatballs. I heard it was good; he wouldn’t share, and nearly licked the bowl clean at the table.