Celebrating Revival Bar
Revival Bar and Kitchen in downtown Berkeley boasts the best possible location—smack in the middle of the city’s theater district—but it’s not just your regular joint for a quick pre-show bite. In fact, the food is so good here I can easily travel to Berkeley for the many enticing dishes I wasn’t able to try on my initial visit.
Conceived and implemented by chef/owner Amy Murray, the restaurant’s menu features an array of delectable choices of seasonal greens and locally sourced seafood and meats. In-house charcuterie is prepared by the restaurant’s chef de cuisine and master butcher Travis McConnell from a “whole animal” butchery program.
My favorite, roasted California octopus flatbread, is made with large-size fully grown octopi that get into Dungeness crab traps during the crab season. Instead of going to waste, the by-catch is utilized by the kitchen in the delicious topping mix of anchovy, garlic and oregano pesto, squid ink aioli, and pickled peppers.
Revival Bar and Kitchen calls itself “Bar” for a reason. The full bar is stacked with top-shelf liquor, and the cocktails created by head mixologist Nat Harry range from classic to novel.
The Tomcat is a spin on Negroni – Hayman’s Old Tom gin, Carpano Antica, Cardamaro, and orange bitters, but Crimson Brim is a sparkly novelty with Broker’s gin, Amaro Cio Ciaro, blood orange, and cava.
A wonderful starter to revive all your senses would be Happy Boy Farm black kale salad with sliced kumquats, fried almonds, grilled red onions, and ricotta cheese shavings.
Dressed with whole-grain mustard and balsamic vinaigrette, this salad, made of tougher greens, lets you feel, experience, and enjoy your food, not just inhale it as often happens with its overprocessed sissy counterparts.
Revival’s skilled servers are well-familiar with the menu and very helpful in suggesting the most interesting plates.
My trout from McFarland Springs came beautifully crisped and adorned with braised chard, grapefruit gastrique, and toasted walnuts. My husband’s Long and Bailey Farm pork chop was perfectly grilled and garnished with artichokes, fingerling potatoes, and a dollop of yummy bourbon butter.
Local and seasonal ingredients permeate the dessert menu as well, like in Backyard Meyer Lemon and Chocolate Mousse Cake or Orange Blossom Nougat Parfait.
The interior design is turn-of-the-century dark, fitting for the historical building the Revival Bar occupies. High ceilings, arched windows, patinated mirrors, and draperies separating a semi-private dining area from the bar create a hedonistic atmosphere of unhurried enjoyment, especially appreciated by those diners who smartly bypass the theatre crowd and settle here for a while.
Dinner is served Tuesday to Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Revival Bar and Kitchen features live music performances every Thursday night from 9 to 11 p.m., no cover charge. Special functions are a specialty of the house. The fully private dining room seats 45.
The restaurant is located at 2102 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, California. For more information and reservations call (510) 549-9950 or visit their website.