They're managing the long yet worth-it wait times nicely — leave your phone number and they'll text you. In the meantime, run across the street to the Lowbrow for a bevie. If you need a few minutes when they text, just respond by dialing "2." Slam that Surly, settle up your bar bill, and head back across the street all civilized-like, and your table will be freshly wiped, the arsenal of hot sauces at the ready for chicken seasoning.
Now that the jury is in that they're doing what they set out to do at Revival — serve good, classic, consistent fried chicken with crave-worthy sides — it seems Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone are ready to reload their menu pistols and fire some more ambitious stuff, especially for seafood fans, at the chicken-loving public.
We spotted four new menu items. There are oysters on the half shell available how you like them: "piggy-back style" with pickled pig's feet and bacon, or choose garlic and herb or just broiled plain.
Also, garlic clams, a traditional crawfish boil, and even a new chicken flavor.
The piggy-back oysters were like Oysters Rockefeller graduated from the Emeril Lagasse University of "pork fat rules." While the seafood flavor was mostly lost in the piggy melee, they're still damn good. Next to a few planks of toasted garlic bread these are a pro-move way to start a meal here. They're also by far the most expensive menu item at $18 for a half-dozen. Are they worth the splurge at $3 apiece? That's a calculation between you and your pocketbook.
And here's something you probably didn't know: The fried chicken is no longer only available in Southern Fried or Tennessee Hot. Now they've got "Poultrygeist," too.
Poultrygeist? Is that when all the beheaded chickens come back to haunt you in a vengeful ghostly rage? Thank God, no. But it is something scary: ghost chile (can be up to 10 times hotter than habanero) chicken. It's hot. If the Tennessee hot was discomforting to you, don't order it. Or, if you're a daring sort, order it. The sauce is also available on the side if you'd rather stay on the vanilla end of the masochism spectrum.
Another pro move: Last weekend, Boemer took the national prize at Grand Cochon 555, considered by some to be the most important pork cooking competition in the country. It comes at an important time for us, where the Twin Cities is scoring all sorts of national marks as a serious dining town on par with bigwig cities. What this means for you is to pay attention to the pork at Boemer restaurants, because it's like his spirit animal.
While the Lexington Pork Shoulder is not a new menu item, it is one potentially worth pushing the chicken aside for. It's a colossal comfort bowl of some of the restaurant's greatest hits: white cheddar grits, collards, b+b pickles, and then a melting-off-the-bone braised pork shoulder, subtly kissed with smoke, all at once sweet and savory and sort of glowing in a South-meets-North version of your last trip down South but polished up for urbane tastes, and then blanketed in a pool of silken jus. Brilliant.
So now is a really good time to visit Revival — they're on the national stage, they're getting their sea legs, they've got that little texting dohickey, they've got crawfish, they've got four kinds of house-made hot sauce, from mild to "The fuck?!".
Why wouldn't you?
4257 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis