I usually know about a restaurant before I eat there, unless we are travelling and I don't have access to a computer. I love the internet, you can find out what people think of a restaurant, what their philosophy is, who the cook is and what else he/she did before they started working at the restaurant you are thinking of patronizing.
I walked into Revel not knowing anything about it, as my husband had directed us there for date night. It was his pick. This restaurant screams hip with everything muted and understated, even the waitstaff (but still friendly...in a muted and understated way) . They provide a clean, modern environment where you can focus on more important things, like the food they are preparing.
The first dish to reach our table, (which unfortunately came before our drinks), was a green bean salad with grilled shitake mushrooms and a roasted sesame vinaigrette (see above). The dressing tasted of miso, the beans were bright and crisp with the mushrooms offering a nice texture contrast to the beans and uniformity with the creamy dressing. For small plates, their servings are generous in size.
The short rib, shallot and scallion dumplings (pictured below), were a beautiful color that wasn't just there for appearance. The wrapper seemed to be made of yams or sweet potatoes with a moist, soft meat mixture inside, offering a sweet and savory contrast. The dish was dribbled with a pepper oil and covered with scallions.
The dish we were most excited about was the grilled meat and it did not disappoint. We were sitting outside, it was a rare sunny day, so the grill was visible from our table. We watched the meat be grilled, and plated. The meat was flavorful and perfectly cooked with the brisket being so moist and tender that you could easily cut it with a small push from your fork. This dish was served with a vegetable soup which was an unexpected but flavorful side. We ordered the medium, (it comes in three sizes), but if you love grilled meat, I would recommend ordering the large if it is still available. It was truly amazing.
For dessert we ordered two cobbler like dishes, one with chocolate and pears, one with peaches and raspberries. They were both delicious and served with an unsweetened buttermilk sherbert that our waiter said he didn't like. I liked his honesty but I thought it went well with the dish, almost like playing with the idea of unsweetened whip cream but being sherbert it was frozen instead of just cold like whipped cream. The coffee (pictured at the bottom) was as good as it looks. The restaurant was better than it looked so do not be put off by the simplistic decor, the food is most definitely the spotlight at Revel.