835 Franklin Ave. Garden City, NY 11530
Revel description Sharp and stylish, Revel in Garden City brings new vitality to the east side of ... More »
The noise you hear is coming from Garden City, where it's time to Revel.
Sharp and stylish, Jim Doukas' bright restaurant brings new verve and vitality to the east side of Franklin Avenue, renewing the strip's restaurant-row reputation. Doukas formerly owned the departed Caffe Angelica in Garden City Park.
This address once housed the Viking Culinary Center. Here and now, chef David Martinez is focusing on New American cuisine and European accents.
Revel seems like two establishments. One room is dominated by a glittery bar, above which is a TV of sufficient size to accommodate "Monday Night Football" and a widescreen chariot race. The decibels rise accordingly, so that anyone dining nearby becomes part of the experience, like it or not.
The sleek, artfully designed dining area beyond the bar, with a window on the kitchen, gets loud, too, but the reverberation won't make your glass tremble or spark a session of sign language.
Martinez quickly gets your attention with shrimp cacares, which must refer to Cáceres, the city in western Spain. Hot pimentón, piquillo peppers, herbs and confit of garlic give the spirited, spicy dish a sense of place. Pair it with marinated olives.
A trio of smoky, braised pork belly sliders, finished with kimchee and sour pickle, is a flavorful, shareable starter. Likewise, the soft, savory veal-and-ricotta salata meatballs, served with creamy polenta that's dotted with roasted cherry tomatoes and Thai basil.
Keep to the Italianate theme with spaghettini cacio e pepe, a spin on the Roman spaghetti dish with grated pecorino cheese and black pepper, here enriched with radicchio and emboldened with nickel-thin ovals of sausage. Saffron tagliatelle with bay scallops and fava beans, however, never comes together. And the ultra-sweet risotto of butternut squash and roasted Gala apple just distracts your palate.
But Revel's pork osso buco, atop a chorizo-and-roasted fennel saffron risotto, is excellent; seaside, the grilled center-cut swordfish with salsify, roasted tomato, Kalamata olives and capers rivals it. The kitchen crosshatches outstanding Aspen Ridge filet mignon and New York strip steak. They're trailed by a jaw-exercising, marinated hanger steak. Have the crisp duck fat fries a la carte.
None of the desserts is memorable, from standard-issue pecan pie to bland, triple-layer chocolate mousse. No matter.
Revel is a good time.