It's possible I was completely blown away by the amazing food I sampled at Revel in Seattle last month because I don't have much experience in French nor Korean cuisine.
Or, it's possible the food is just damn good.
One of the great things about my sister, other than her brilliant mind, stunning good looks and amazing personality, is that she lives in Seattle. This affords me a few trips up north - not as many as I'd like, but more than if had no excuse to go there. Additionally, she was married this past June and so I've been able to get damp and drizzly two times so far this year, and Christmas in Seattle is looking mighty inviting ...
Truth be told, my trip to Seattle in June was not supposed to be about me. My sister was getting married for crying out loud, and I was the maid of honor. I was a necessary and integral part of the planning and running around - I needed to stay focused!
And I did my best, honestly, but as I headed out one afternoon to find extra bed sheets at the Good Will for the reception table linens (don't laugh - they turned out awesome!) it became clear how very close I was to Revel ... do you see where this is heading?
Revel has long been on my bucket-list. Granted they've only been open since December of 2010 but I've been reading about them (on Eater.com, in foodie magazines, on blogs) for some time now and I've been deathly afraid for some unknown reason that they'd somehow fold or run out of food before I had a chance to experience their much-raved about modern Korean comfort/street food.
I've been worrying in vain. This place is going to be around FOREVER and it will only get better and multiply into even more clever fantastical eateries (this isn't owner-chefs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirichi's first restaurant). They would have a restraining order out on me by now if I lived within a 500-mile radius of their little dining establishment.
And it is little, comparatively, but the size and the environment is inviting. Everything is clean and striking and open - including the kitchen. I arrived early for lunch - so early the servers ribbed me about my skulking around and peaking in windows when they finally let me in as it was mid-week and there was no lineup whatsoever - scoring a seat front and center at the "bar", which doubles as the plating and staging area for the cooks.
Directly behind the bar is the kitchen which was no bigger than my own and I wondered how they could possibly produce and deliver food in a kitchen that small to a room of probably 100. Admittedly, Rachel Yang and Seif (also husband and wife) "wanted people to feel like they were walking into our kitchen." (Shalini Gujavarty on Eater.com) And that's exactly how I felt.
I was elated to find myself staring at the back of the chef who would be personally cooking my food, and I'd get to watch him from start to finish. And I wanted his Revel t-shirt.
I've poo-pooed and whined much on my blog about how I must often eat alone but this time, I was pleased there would be no need to come up with brilliant small-talk. I was utterly entertained and in no way missed the company of a food partner - except for when it came time to pay the bill. I'm not saying Revel is pricey, they're very much the opposite. Just saying I wouldn't turn down a foodie sugar-daddy (email me!).
The kind wait staff at Revel encouraged me to take as many pictures as I wanted and high-fived my request for a glass of Rosé. I agonized over the menu - how to choose when I wanted to try everything and I knew this was probably a one-shot experience for an Arizona girl (Jen said she's only getting married once).
I decided on the Pork Belly pancake as a "starter," followed by the Dungeness Crab Noodles which featured wonderfully chewy and aromatic seaweed noodles, spicy red curry and creme fraiche. I felt like a glutton ordering that much but I'll be honest with you, I should have chosen at least two additional items, maybe more. I totally could have gotten away with it.
And then the cook went to work and I watched as he slung (slinged?) pots and fresh ingredients around like he'd probably done a million times before. To me, it was magic.
My pork belly pancakes were served with four dipping sauces
I tried one sauce on each of my little triangles of pork belly pancake goodness. Sweet Chili was probably my favorite, but I enjoyed them all. The pancake is skillet fried, blessed with porky fatty goodness, and not for those on a low-fat diet. Basically an excellent excuse to splurge.
The noodles were a delight. I'll admit I was apprehensive about the "seaweed" noodles, thinking they'd be a bit overpowering, but it turns out the chewy egg noodles, streaked with seaweed running throughout paired perfectly with the fresh dungeness crab (Seattle after all). The red curry provided Asian heat while the creme fraiche kept me from dabbing at my sweaty forehead.
Do go. Do put this on your list of places to experience in Seattle. You won't regret it.