REVIEW: Revival, Decatur
There’s a revival going on in Decatur that gives diners plenty of opportunity to repent and shout HALLELUJAH! At the center of the tent is none other than celebrity chef Kevin Gillespie, who also owns the award-winning Gunshow restaurant in the Glenwood Park neighborhood of Atlanta. No mistaking Kevin’s Atlanta roots, Revival brings Southern food from the back pew right up to the altar at Revival in Decatur.
While parking is readily available near the restaurant, Revival offers complimentary valet service that begins your carte blanche experience. Revival is nestled in a former home and this feels as if you are being served in someone’s private home. Outside the front, there’s a large comfortable area for you to wait to be seated. The entrance leads to a large foyer and bar area and there are separate dining areas that make the dining experience feel more intimate.
Our server greeted us swiftly and we were soon discussing menu options. She was extremely confident about the menu and knew the answer to every question we asked. She even knew exactly what went into each dish and how each dish was prepared. We were quite impressed!
We began our meal with a starter of Toasted Deviled Ham Tea Sandwiches. The deviled ham had just a slight kick but even’s Melanie with her tender palate enjoyed them thoroughly. We were told that cornbread would be served just before the entrées arrived. When the cornbread made its entrance, we knew right away Revival had gotten it right. Prepared in a cast iron skillet, it was made the way that Southern cornbread should be. Sweet, yet not too sweet, moist but yet just dry enough and with just the right taste of cornmeal to make it ever so perfect.
The sermon was delivered at Revival though upon the arrival of the entrées and the sides. Everything is à la carte so it makes it easy to build your own meal with the sides of your choosing. For sides, we selected the Old-fashioned Creamed Potatoes, Field Peas and Pole Beans, Cabbage and Mac & Cheese. While your initial reaction will make you think the portions are small, we were fully satisfied by our meal. The sides are big enough for two, but it’s a stretch to be shared by three.
The sides were all wonderfully prepared and exceeded our expectations. One thing we particularly enjoyed was that they were all well seasoned and tasted just perfect. The Field Peas and Pole Beans was the star of the side show because we all liked the way that the soft field peas were complemented by the crunchy pole beans. The sides were a real hit!
Melanie chose the Grassfed Beef and Pork Meatloaf that comes wrapped in bacon. I think she could have done without having to remove the fatty bacon, but surely the resulting flavor was worth it. While Melanie thought there was a little too much pork in it for her tastes, I thought this dish rocked and was fantastic. Melanie particularly enjoyed the BBQ sauce topping instead of a ketchup/tomato based sauce topping the meatloaf.
I went with the Spiced Mississippi Catfish that comes lathered in a low country tomato gravy. The fish was excellent and certainly not too spicy for those timid when they see the description. It had a bold flavor and the fish was a fine cut that was thick and I thought was a great value.
As the menu states “No dinner is complete without your choice of dessert” and us being law-abiding citizens, we decided to share the Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. If there was a closing prayer at this revival, this was it. The frosting was thick and rich, the cake was moist and tasty – absolutely sinful! It was the perfect end to an awesome meal.
If Southern food had a church, Revival is it and Kevin Gillespie is the Executive Pastor. How many restaurants include a thank you card when they bring your credit card receipt back for signature? It’s a first for me, and I’ve eaten at thousands of restaurants. Our server even mentioned what a pleasure she had serving us and how nice we were. Kindness – we manufacture it down South and Kevin has it on display at his restaurant. You won’t be disappointed at Revival. Guten appetit!