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Initial thoughts on Revolution

Posted by RPP 26 Dec 2008 26 Comments

Revolution officially opened for business Tuesday night.  We stopped in for drinks and dinner, and overall we were quite impressed.  We had the 5 course tasting menu and liked every course, some of them being excellent.  

They were not operating on their full menu yet, so I won’t comment much on that.   I didn’t really check out the wines, but they had an interesting cocktail list.  The beer list would benefit from some higher quality additions, especially in a beer-loving town like Durham.

Overall it was a great experience and I’m looking forward to going back for more when they get into the full swing of things.  They’ll be having two tasting menus on New Years Eve, which sounds like it could make for a pretty nice evening.


  • Viva Revolution! | The Foodology Collective said:

    [...] the Executive Chef at Il Palio) has now opened and the initial buzz is exciting (Read more here and here) . I look forward to trying it [...]

  • TSQ75 said:

    I gotta say, i’m noticing you guys are steering away from your usual “everyman” fare. did one of you get an inheritance or something? lol


  • Carpe Durham/Reasonably Prudent Person (author) said:

    TSQ: Less time to explore during exams. No inheritance, unless by that you really mean “student loan.”


  • Revolution (Finally) Opens said:

    [...] of fall but encountered many problems in retrofitting the building at 107 W. Main St. Carpe Durham posted some very brief, initial thoughts: They were not operating on their full menu yet, so I won’t [...]

  • Joshua said:

    Ate at Revolution last night and loved it. Had the beef tartar from the raw menu and it was excellent. The papardelle with osso buco sauce was perfect. Can’t wait to go back for more.


  • Carpe Durham/Reasonably Prudent Person (author) said:

    We also really enjoyed the pappardelle.


  • JCB said:

    We were mightily impressed at the New Year’s Eve dinner. Wonderful food, vibrant space, and excellent, unpretentious staff. We’ll be going back a lot (and yes, that papardelle was amazing).


  • Kenny said:

    We got apps and drinks at the bar the other night. The ahi “poke” tuna was one of the best dishes I’ve had at a Triangle-area restaurant in a long time – terrifically fresh, beautiful to look at, and very flavorful. I also got a yummy, froufrou blueberry and lavender cocktail. The general vibe of the place is upscale but not stuffy. We stopped by Pinkhook for an after-dinner drink. I felt like I had taken a mini-trip to the city.


  • Dr. Douglas T. Hess said:

    With considerabler anticipation, a friend and I went to dinner at Revolution last Saturday evening (Jan. 3, 2008). Here are a few of our impressions:
    1) Ordered cocktails, and was not asked about liquor brand preference or informed which brands were available
    2) Asked about bread (empty basket was on table) and was told that “bread is served with the first course”
    3) Ordered Blue Moon oysters on the half-shell, which were “not available”; got mixed selection (which ran $18.00 for 8 oysters). Oysters were served half-shucked (on the half-shell, but still attached to the shell
    4) Entree of hanger steak was “smoked”: smoke was overwhelming and acrid, dish was effectively inedible
    5) Ordered espresso; “not available”
    6) Service overall was passable, but graceless and awkward


  • Beth1 said:

    Had dinner there tonight. Sat next to Pres. Brodhead and his wife, which was a treat. Atmosphere is nice, but a tad stark and sterile. The tuna poke was delicious and so was the haystack shrimp. The ice cream pie was not exceptional. Price was very good – all that and a glass of wine was $31.

    The service was beyond bad. Our waiter just did not give a chit about us. The manager tried to help and was very nice, but clearly these people need to get better staff in to help them out. Hire people who look like they’re happy to serve us! I will wait a little while and try again.


  • durhamwalkingdog said:

    I went last night and can’t say I’d return for dinner. Had the haystack shrimp. Not much flavor considering the presentation. Followed-up with the bass which was a small serving for price and pretty much raw (my date who is a foodie thought is was way undercooked, so not just imho) also, came with a weird pasta cake that I thought was gross and shitaki mushrooms. Neither of these last two items were on the menu description. ? I would have preferred a big piece of well-cooked bass on the seaweed and nothing else mucking it up. Great bread.

    Love the interior and thought the staff was terrific. For the pricepoint I’ll save them as a great drinks spot and keep Rue Cler for my downtown eats. (Might try them again if someone else is paying though.)


  • Woody Holliman said:

    Revolution is an amazing addition to downtown, and I can’t say enough good things about the food or the service. So far, I’ve found more adventurous fare on the small plates (rather than the traditional entrees), but everything has been outstanding!


  • Full Frame Recommendations « Carpe Durham said:

    [...] Revolution (107 W. Main St) Sunday brunch – $30.  Also a great spot for “upscale” drinks and appetizers. [...]

  • chun0091 said:

    This place SUCKED! My bf and I went there for our anniversary dinner and it was a major disappointment. The portion sizes were tiny for the prices they’re charging. I got a foie gras BLT (seriously had 2 bites for $13) and my bf got the beef tartar (ok). I got the bass for the main. The portion was once again tiny and the fish was WAYWAYWAY over done. My bf got the buffalo shortribs, which were paired with a sauce that didn’t seem to really go with it. My bf got the orange dark chocolate cake for dessert. I swear, they used a mini-muffin pan to make the cake because it was minuscule. I got the panna cotta which was probably the best thing I had there. The service was slow and not very attentive. The dining area is so loud that we had to shout over the table while we were talking. I wish we would have gone to one of the other downtown Durham restaurants (Piedmont, Rue Cler) or even Chapel Hill (GASP!) for dinner because this was a very disappointing experience. I OBVIOUSLY will never go back.


  • FoodDude said:

    If you went last night, that was probably bad timing. Any time there is a show at the DPAC, you can bet on a large crowd rushing the bar when it lets out. It got pretty loud in there before I left. C’est la vie, price we pay for having increasingly good stuff downtown.


  • Gary said:

    You should have taken out a “Second Mortgage” to get the good stuff.


  • durhamfood said:

    Honestly, I haven’t been yet, but just about everyone who I trust in food matters has had mediocre experiences or worse.


  • jjj said:

    I’ve been to Revolution many times and have come away underwhelmed every time. The food presentation is fantastic, but the flavor doesn’t match up. I always leave there thinking that they are satisfied with being superficial and design heavy. So many seem so glad to just have something like this in town that they seem to ignore the inconsistent and often rude service, the pretentiousness and food that just doesn’t match up. A quick note on the pappardelle since it was a great example. The dish was beautiful and the pasta was very nicely cooked and had great texture. Unfortunately, the overall dish lacked flavor that was promised in the description (particularly since it was supposed to feature truffles). Like most of the other dishes I’ve had there, there is just something missing.

    I’ve been to the bar for cocktails and really like their offerings, but have found the bartenders to be inattentive on more than half dozen occasions. I distinctly get the impression that they as well as the owners/staff want you to feel that you are lucky to be in their presence.

    That just isn’t good enough in Durham. There are so many great dining choices that they really shouldn’t take people for granted. It’s great to be the new kid on the block. That only lasts for so long. Looking good is one thing, being consistently good is another. That goes for the food and the restaurant as a whole.


  • Gary said:

    Exceedingly well put.


  • Ross Grady said:

    I’ve only been once so far, before reading any of these comments, and the things on the menu that seemed most intriguing were all on the “raw” portion of the menu, so we focused on those. We had the beef tartare, at least one of the tunas, and I forget what else (it has been a while), but I thought they were uniformly excellent, as good as any comparable dishes I’ve had elsewhere in the Triangle (not that there are *that* many opportunities for comparables to the dishes on the raw menu in the Triangle).

    The service, on the other hand, was pretty damn mediocre, bordering on jerky. I’m guessing this was because it was a Wednesday night, and we’d come directly from work (with a stopover at the Pinhook), and were thus dressed in “business casual” rather than fancy-ass designer wear (not that I own any of the latter, anyway).

    Or maybe they’re just jerks to everybody, I don’t know. I *do* think it’s funny that they think they can cop quite that much attitude in that block of Main St in downtown Durham on a Wednesday night. Best of luck to ‘em!

    On the other hand, to the posters who reference wishing they’d gone to Rue Cler instead: Good Luck! On the night we went to Revolution, we had actually *tried* to go to Rue Cler, only to be turned away at 8:45 because the kitchen was already closed. (the second weeknight that had happened to us, actually, pre-9:00 p.m.). They suggested calling ahead to see if they were actually serving food. I suggested replacing the “until” on their hours with “8:30″ to save us all the trouble.


  • yumyum said:

    Mediocre, which is a shame: we were looking forward to a restaurant in Durham pitched for the crowd Revolution is aiming to attract but managing to repel. That being said, Revolution has some good points.
    The restaurant was half-empty, but the hostess still refused to acknowledge us as we walked in. We seated ourselves at the bar as she snapped out of her slump and tripped over her flip flops to catch up.
    There was a barman or manager hovering over our meal and drying glasses in a plastic dishwasher tray with the smell of cafeteria wafting past us as we ate.
    Another staff member took a gulp from a can of pop and chucked the empty across the bar area into a bin in front of our discussion.
    The food was elegantly arranged, but the flavors were underwhelming, even when the smell of dishwasher finally dissipated. The raw bar was fresh and reasonably priced.
    The barmaid is a foodie and knows her stuff. She gave us good suggestions for wine pairings.
    The Mosaic is tasteful, but much of the decor is chintzy considering how pretentious it is, especially in conjunction with the snooty service.
    If Revolution doesn’t manage to clean up its act, it is not long for Durham, a city filled with excellent, stylish, friendly and tasty places to eat.
    girlfriend adds: do they REALLY need to bring their bread in all the way from new york? really?


  • Sant said:

    Revolution is serving lunch now. This must be a new development because our party of 7 were the only ones there. Some of us got the “blackened” catfish with rock shrimp risotto and others got the lamb burger with fries. I did not like the catfish very much. It did not have blackened seasoning but rather a dusting of black pepper and it was fried rather than blackened. The risotto was nice though. Those that got the burger was put off by how rare it was. Had it been inspected they would have been in trouble.

    I would be shocked if Chef Anile is cooking at lunch. I guess they are just helping to cover overhead by serving lunch but based on this one experience I would say they need to make a better effort. It is a lovely restaurant though. I love the feel of the place.


    MEZ replies on July 6th, 2010 at 10:14 am:

    I think they started advertising lunch hours about three months ago, but it is a very limited menu, right?


    Sant replies on July 8th, 2010 at 9:00 am:

    Really, wow, they need to do a better job of getting the word out then. They do have the disadvantage of being on the far end of downtown– although that doesn’t seem to be a problem for Scratch and Dos Perros. Yes, it is a light menu, around five entrees and a couple of desserts.


  • TheBerean said:

    I have eaten there twice. 2 months ago and 1 year ago. Good location relative to new downtown activities and the valet parking was efficient and trustworthy. The service was below average and the food was substantially below average. Last meal was Lobster Risotto consisting of an enormous quantity of Risotto and virtually no lobster. Others in our party of 12 who ordered the same dish made the same comment as soon as they were served. One person speculated that they ran out and tried to stretch the Lobster as none of us felt that anyone could honestly call the dish Lobster anything. A bowl of Parmesian Cheese saved the day but I left being reminded of my first visit to Revolution thinking I would only be back for business functions where someone else picked this place. Sorry about that. I have spent 24 years in Durham and I would love nothing more than to support a new restaurant in this location.


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