Monday, April 20, 2015

Revival – Minneapolis, MN

D.Rough had mentioned Revival for a few weeks and kept referring to it as “fancy fried chicken”. I was sure if that was the gimmick the restaurant had established, or if it was just a menu item. As it turns out, it is more the latter scenario. The place is nice, but not as upscale as their other restaurant – Corner Table – just down the street. And with all the write-ups Revival is getting, get comfortable for a nice wait before you get seated. Thankfully, there is a bar there where you can get a drink, or you can give them your cell phone number and they’ll txt you when your table is ready and you can walk across or down the street and grab a drink at one of the nearby bars. We did just that. Right after we saw some of our friends having dinner there and caused a scene when we went over for Midwest hugs all around. Hahaha

The menu is full of all kinds of delicious southern items: appetizers, entrees, and sides. Seriously, this was like a menu from my grandma’s house on the Alabama side of my family. Collard greens, mac and cheese, corn fritters, black eyed peas, pork shoulder, pork rinds, johnny cakes, and all kinds of other things. Narrowing the list down to our actual order was extremely difficult. I wanted everything. We got some advice from our previously mentioned friends and finally made up our minds.

We ordered fried green tomatoes for an appetizer, Tennessee Hot fried chicken and pork shoulder for entrees, and I got some hoppin john as a side. We also ordered a couple of drinks to help kill time while we waited for our food. The food took a bit to come out, but the place was mobbed with people, so it’s totally understandable. Not overly long, just appropriately long.

The fried green tomatoes came out, served on a bed of pickle sauce and covered in a some pretty greens. I don’t think I was expecting how good these were. The batter on the tomatoes was seasoned really well and had a little bit of kick to it. And the pickle sauce RULED. It really was the thing that amazed me the most about the dish. Get these things.

The meal came out shortly after that. The hoppin john (which is a southern black eyed pea dish served mainly on New Year’s Day) was much better than I expected, as well. Normally, when you order this at a restaurant, it’s a bit bland and flavorless (but filling), but this Revival version has plenty of flavor. Not spicy or anything, but there was more than just rice and peas in here. When you get this at a southern home, it’s going to taste more like this one, since southern grandmas like to put their own little spin on this usually simple dish.

The pork shoulder comes on a bed of white cheddar grits with the pork shoulder juice poured over it. There are also some greens and bread & butter pickles with it. The pork shoulder was perfectly cooked. It fell apart when you touched it with the fork, but also had plenty of meaty texture to it. The cheddar grits were really smooth and not sandy and mixed with the pork juice, they may or may not have been fought over…

The Tennessee Hot Chicken was where it’s at. This really is why people are coming to Revival. You can get regular southern fried chicken or you can get the spicy hot stuff. The crispiness of this chicken was wonderful. It makes the lips tingle with the spiciness – while not painfully spicy at all – and the crunch of the skin was top-notch. The flavor of the chicken was really fantastic, as well. We ended up getting a half bird and were both absolutely stuffed after this. There’s a lot of meat there.

Revival has a couple of pies (that change) for dessert, but we were so stuffed, we opted out. Tempting, but no.

There are two bottles of sauce that the staff brings out for your table. One looks like mustard, but is actually a sweet potato sauce with warm chilies – this one is really amazing. The other one is a vinegary Carolina bbq sauce. It’s got great flavor, but I really loved the sweet potato sauce. We asked what we were supposed to put the sauces on and the lovely server told us to put it on everything. Oddly enough, once we bit into the food, we completely forgot to use the sauces, since the food stood on its own. I think the sweet potato sauce would have been great on the fried corn fritters. And probably a bunch of other things. Next time!

Top 5 things about Revival
1. Tennessee Hot Fried Chicken
2. Pork Shoulder
3. Fried Green Tomatoes
4. Hoppin John
5. Really wonderful southern menu

Bottom 5 things
1. There WILL be a wait to get in to the less-than-50-seat dining room
2. You’re going to want to order more than you will be able to eat. We saw it all around us
3. The dining room is a bit crowded and energetic. Mind your elbows, feet, and purses
4. They don’t take reservations
5. Everyone raves about the burger there, but we didn’t get it. Sounds like we’ll be getting it next time!

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