If you are a transplanted Southerner, or if you’ve spent significant time below the Mason-Dixon line, your eye may well spy the pineapples when you walk into the Revelry--one on the mat, several etched into the entryway’s glass, an abstract representation tucked upstairs. A longstanding symbol of hospitality dating back to Colonial times, pineapples are still prevalent in the Southern United States as a decorative motif.
It’s true that the Revelry’s hospitable ambiance, as well as its cuisine, takes a cue from the spirit of the South. But make no mistake: this is no meat-and-three joint. No one here is going to call you “y’all” or drawl their way through a recitation of the specials. Instead, as the website promises, The Revelry serves “honest American cuisine that honors the Lowcountry of the South.”
The decor is thoroughly modern, an intriguing blend of industrial (brick, metal, exposed ductwork) and quaint, front-parlor charm (milk glass chandeliers, cut glass goblets full of dried flowers). If you’re squeamish about heights, don’t look down as you approach the hostess station, where a glass floor allows patrons to peer down into the wine cellar.
Downstairs, an open plan bar serves up craft cocktails made with artisanal ingredients, but the upstairs dining area is where the culinary and aesthetic magic happen. Take the beet deviled eggs, which are a vibrant pink, offset by bright, grassy microgreens and dark red beet chips. Far from the classic potluck offering, these deviled eggs boast a piquant top note provided by mustard caviar, the smoky tang of house-cured bacon, and a Cajun-inspired filling. They are miniature sculptures, almost too pretty to eat -- until you take your first bite, and then all bets are off.
Eggs and beets play off each other equally well in another appetizer, a beautiful bowl of Gitchee Boy grits cooked with house-smoked cheddar and butter. Underneath the grits are turnip greens; perched gently atop them is a poached duck egg, asparagus foam and beet puree. From the bottom up, this dish is by turns earthy, creamy, nutty, smoky, salty, and delicate -- an ensemble of ethereal flavors.
The Revelry makes a signature dry rub that you can taste on their country-fried chicken wings and smoked duck tacos, as well as their Texas redfish. Made with chipotles, cumin and garlic, it lends a warm, deep spice experience to an otherwise mild white fish. Once again, contrasting textures and tastes make this entree an absolute romp for both the eyes and the palate: there are blistered heirloom tomatoes and haricots verts for color, shoestring potatoes to crunch, and an amazing sweet corn broth that tempers any lingering heat from the rub.
An exquisite dry-aged duck breast is paired with more of the comforting smoked cheddar grits, a quince jus and pickled cranberries. Sea salt, microreens and the pop of the tangy berries keep this dish on its toes, lest it become too rich. At the risk of repeating myself, here’s another offering from Executive Chef Derrick DePorter that is not just an entree, but a multi-sensory experience for diners.
Want to end your meal on a truly interesting note? Then try the chocolate ganache dessert. An insanely chocolatey but not-too-sweet ganache with a tender shortbread crust, this is topped with peanut butter powder. Yes, peanut butter powder, which seems to disappear on your tongue, leaving behind the pure taste of peanut butter. As if peanut butter and chocolate weren’t perfect enough on their own, The Revelry gilds this lily by adding a scoop of roasted banana ice cream and several slices of sweet, caramelized bruleed banana.
1290 University Avenue
Rochester, New York 14607
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