Revel is a restaurant in Seattle serving up urban-style Korean comfort food. I’d first learnt about Revel from watching Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate episode on Messy eats. Revel Restaurant was featured for their Asparagus Pistachio Olive Chutney Radicchio Rice Bowl. Unfortunately, since the menu at Revel changes often, this dish was actually no longer available at the time of our visit. I decided to try Revel nonetheless as there were other dishes on the menu that sounded interesting and also because they had won numerous awards such as Best New Restaurant in Seattle for 2011.
In all honesty, when my friend C and I arrived at Revel for brunch, we weren’t all that hungry as we had just finished gorging ourselves on the delectable mango cream puffs from Crumble & Flake. However, being die-hard foodies, we persevered and ordered the items on the menu that sounded intriguing to us.
While waiting in line at Crumble & Flake, we came across the headquarters for Rachel’s Ginger Beer (RGB), which was located just down the block from the patisserie. From chatting with the locals while standing in line, I learnt that Rachel’s Ginger Beer is actually a local handcrafted product made of fresh ginger, lemon, organic cane sugar, and purified sparkling water. I really wanted to try the ginger beer but unfortunately, the RGB headquarters wasn’t open for retail sales. After some sleuthing online, I found out that Revel actually serves the ginger beer so it was at the top of my list of things to try at Revel. Rachel’s Ginger Beer ($6) was very refreshing. It had an intense lemon ginger flavour and wasn’t too sweet. I really enjoyed it but it’s not for everyone. My friend C thought the drink had too much of a bite.
Our first dish was the Kaffir Lime Yogurt ($8), which was served with a spicy mango compote and black rice puffs. The yogurt was very tangy and acidic. It was not like anything I’ve had before. I could really taste the kaffir lime in the yogurt. I really liked the black puffed rice which provided a nice textural contrast. This was a refreshing way to start off our meal.
Next up were the Bacon, Hazelnut, and Pickled Asian Pear Donuts ($5). Since I love both bacon and hazelnuts, when I saw this on the menu I really wanted to try it. They were served with sweetened condensed milk drizzled over top. The donuts were just ok. They were a lot denser than we had expected and we could barely find any pickled Asian pear in the donuts as it was unevenly dispersed.
For our main dish, we shared the Short Rib Rice Bowl ($14), which was served with fried eggs, chili chimichurri, and arugula. This was a contemporary twist the traditional bibimbap. This dish was a winner! I was really impressed at how tender and flavourful the slices of short rib were. They were really juicy and had a nice BBQ flavour. Together with the peppery arugula, the silky egg yolks, and the spicy chimichurri, all the components complemented each other well.
The rice bowl was served with a basket of signature housemade sauces that included a sweet and spicy gochujang chili sauce, a savoury fermented bean paste, a fish sauce with lime and Thai chilies, as well as a garlic ginger soy. The fish sauce with the chilies (Phrik Nam Pla) was supposedly the spiciest out of the lot although I didn’t find it too spicy for me. Being more of a traditionalist, I thought the sweet and spicy gochujang chili sauce went best with the Short Rib Rice Bowl.
If you’re expecting traditional Korean fare, Revel is not the place for it. Rather, this is a unique place for inventive, Korean-influenced cuisine. Overall, my friend C and I were quite impressed with Revel. The Asian-inspired brunch items we tried were tasty and interesting. They were nothing like the typical American brunch items we are normally accustomed it. We definitely want to make it back to Revel again on our next trip to Seattle.
403 N 36th St. (North 36th St. & Phinney Ave.)
Rachel’s Ginger Beer