Our Gourmet: No reservations about recommending Revival Kitchen & Bar

July 25. 2018 12:57AM
Cocoa-cumin rubbed pork tenderloin is served with a fresh vegetable "hash" at Revival Kitchen in Concord. 
Revival Kitchen and Bar
11 Depot St., Concord; 715-5723; www.revivalkitchennh.com

Tuesday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.

Cuisine: Farm to table American, Old World classics.

Pricing: Cheese Plate, $9 and up; Salads/Small Plates, $8-$14; Large Plates, $19-$30.

Handicap access: Two steps up to main entrance.

Scores for Revival Kitchen
Atmosphere: 18/20
Menu: 18/20
Food: 19/20
Service: 18/20
Value: 18/20
TOTAL: 91/100

Back in April 2017, we wandered off Concord’s Main Street and enjoyed Italian at Angelina’s on Depot Street. As we left, we noticed another restaurant upstairs, and put Revival Kitchen and Bar on our bucket list. With its decidedly adult menu, we put off a visit until we could go sans the 8-year-old Fussbudget.

An impromptu sleepover for the boy on a recent Saturday gave Our Gourmet (OG) and the Dining Companion (DC) our opportunity, and we called Revival for a reservation. We were told a table wouldn’t be available until quite late but that a high-top in the bar was a possibility any time. So, we headed out.

Revival Kitchen is on the first floor of an old brick building a few steps up from the sidewalk on Depot Street, about a block off North Main Street. The door opens to a short hallway, the hostess on the right and bathrooms on the left. A bar runs across the back of the room, overlooking the kitchen, with about 15 tables in a room to the right. Walls are a soothing gray, wood is dark and the tables and bar are copper-topped. It’s a cool, relaxing scene.

We were surprised when we arrived and the hostess said the high-tops were booked. She said she’d “make it work,” and did, seating us at a high-top in a nook behind her overlooking the bar, the kitchen and the bathrooms. The DC thought it cozy. OG looked longingly at a four-top near the kitchen that remained unused and several empty spots at the bar. Several tables emptied not long after we arrived.

No matter, because we were in for a farm-to-table treat cooked up by chef Corey Fletcher and his staff, in view through the kitchen window. The DC was in the mood for a cocktail and got a special this evening ($10), made of lemonade, good gin and muddled fresh blueberries, offset by basil leaves and candied lemon bits. She raved. We had to admit the sip we had was pretty darn good. OG grudgingly ordered a Coke.

We started with a four-cheese plate (two for $9, four for $16 and $4 for additional cheese) adding fennel salami ($5) for OG. All of Revival’s cheeses come from New Hampshire or Vermont. We tried to stick to Granite State offerings, choosing Camembert and Shades of Blue from Brookford Farm in Canterbury, a Toma from Robie Farm in Piermont and the Reading Raclette from Spring Brook Farm in Vermont. The plate was served with candied walnuts, sliced apple, sliced baguette and a coarse mustard for the salami.

The baguette was too heavy for the cheeses, in our opinion. Crackers might better highlight their differences. Our Camembert was soft and creamy. The Toma, a semi-hard Italian alpine, was sublimely nutty to OG but too strong for the DC. She liked the Raclette, a milder alpine offering most often melted, but not here. Brookford Farm’s Blue stole OG’s heart. Almost as creamy as a brie, its deep blue veins provided earthy tang. Just as good sushi makes you taste the ocean, this cheese made OG taste a barn, in a good way. It was truly revelatory.

The DC stayed with small plates, ordering a House Salad ($8) and Potato Lemon Gnocchi ($10). The salad was crisp, filled with garden vegetables and garnished with fried shallots and more of the Brookford blue cheese. Her gnocchi, although not exactly vegan — which she prefers — tasted decidedly like potato instead of pasta and had been given a light sauté with tender asparagus tips and fresh peas atop a flavorful asparagus cream. The DC said it was the best she’s had anywhere, ever.

Mindful that OG’s eyes are often bigger than our stomach, we steered away from a special rabbit and pork sausage, deciding it would be too much with the cheese and an entrée. Instead, we ordered the Cocoa-Cumin Rubbed Pork Tenderloin ($24), which was stupendous. A hunk of tender tenderloin the size and heft of filet mignon was expertly grilled just short of medium, with a nice crust on the outside and a moist, slightly pink inside. This was melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.

A vegetable hash accompanied, comprised of corn kernels, thin, tender green beans, bits of red pepper, chunks of zucchini and creamy soft white beans, all quickly sautéd for a bit of char and some buttery goodness. With a cilantro puree drizzle, the veggies had a Southwestern flair. It wasn’t until next morning we realized we never noticed the touted cocoa-cumin rub on the pork.

Too full for dessert, the DC had a small bit of salad and another of gnocchi packed to go. She tried to order another blueberry lemonade without the gin to go for an après dinner drink at home, but alas, Revival had no to-go cups. Instead we agreed we’d be back to try some of Chef Fletcher’s other offerings, and next time, we’ll make a reservation.

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