Ok, so some New Yorkers might argue with me on this one but I think that Revolution could rival many of the great restaurants you'd find in a big city. I've done a fair amount of traveling and eaten at some amazing restaurants around the world so I definitely have high standards. And considering the fact that Durham is not a big city and people do not travel from far and wide to come here, I'm going to say we are pretty lucky to have such a unique restaurant right here in downtown. Revolution is definitely on the pricier side for Durham (most entrees are $20 and up) but significantly less expensive than even mediocre restaurants in big cities. The menu is incredibly eclectic with several types of seafood, different cuts of meat as well as vegetarian options. To compliment these varied options, the wine menu is a good five pages long and a separate cocktail and beer menu provides choices for everyone. Revolution is a perfect spot for dinner before a show at the DPAC but be sure to make a reservation if you want a table. Or walk in any night and sit at the incredibly comfortable bar.
On my last visit, I decided to go with two appetizers as I was torn between about eight of them. The menu is broken into chilled/raw, small, big, second mortgage and tasting. I have yet to try the tasting menu but it is definitely high on my list of things to do. From the chilled/raw section I chose the Octopus Salad, which I've had before and know I love. It's a wonderful combination of raw octopus, red peppers and olives tossed in a tangy citrus vinaigrette. For my main course, I chose the Beer Braised Mussels. I've ordered mussels at numerous restaurants and these definitely held their own among the best. The beer added a deep, rich flavor to the slightly spicy broth, perfect for dunking crusty bread. The mussels were perfectly cooked and piled high with fresh chunks of tomato and shredded basil. Although delicious in and of itself, this meal was made complete by the Saddlerock Chardonnay. A lightly oaked Chardonnay, this was the perfect mix of crisp acidity and smooth finish. The notes of vanilla and butterscotch at the end went perfectly with the spicy broth in the mussels. Definitely a winning combination!
My fiance is more the meat eater of the two of us and went with the Venison Carpaccio for an appetizer and a braised short rib special for his entree. The Venison is thinly sliced and served with shaved fennel and dijon mustard which add both texture and acidity to the tender, sweet venison. The short rib special was braised in a horseradish marinade making it both rich and slightly spicy. The accompanying side of a "polenta pocket" was crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside and filled with an eggplant tapenade. Overall a delicious dish.
As you can see from just this one experience, Revolution offers a wide variety of dishes to please everyone's tastes. Everything is of exceptional quality and prepared with absolute precision. The ambiance and excellent service make the meal an overall great experience. So don't feel like you need to make the trip, and spend the money, to go to New York just to get a fantastic meal. We may not have the shopping available in Manhattan but we're getting closer to the level of quality in our food.