Revel is the most aptly-named restaurant in Seattle. It’s a smallish space in Fremont, more cozy than cramped, and it was loud. When I got home, my throat hurt because I had been shouting to be heard by friends, and there were three of us around a three foot square table. The restaurant was boisterous and fun, with simple but bright graphic art on the walls and a surprisingly perfect 90’s hip hop soundtrack. That was all a bonus, because if I had walked into a plain, dark room and been told to be a church mouse to properly enjoy my meal I would have been silent, no questions. I had a few moments of silence as I tried to figure out how in the world they got so much flavor into each bite and how they figured out to put just the right ingredients together in each bowl without getting fussy. How awesome to find a nearly perfect restaurant so close to home.
I won’t try to describe what I ate because I don’t have the words. I almost teared up with my first bite of smoked tea noodles with duck, easily the best dish I have ever eaten in Seattle. Ever. We shared a garlic shrimp pancake with chermoula, beans and four dipping sauces, and butterscotch custard with smoky bananas and a coconut cookie for dessert. My friends enjoyed a rice bowl with shitakes and turnips and noodles with Dungeness crab and curry, each bowl as beautiful as the one set in front of me. Before dinner we had drinks at Quoin, the bar in the adjoining space, and they know what they’re doing there, too. Go to Revel now. Go for brunch tomorrow or dinner tonight and take a friend. Don’t worry if the food is not quite what you’re used to– the waitstaff will steer you in the right direction if you have questions. Trust me, trust them. Call me to go with you, because I can’t wait to go back.