Revival, in the former Downtown space, opened just over a week ago, with the executive chef and part ownership in common with Venus. I had dinner there tonight, as it was chosen for a birthday by a family member.
There is a large bar, and another area opposite with more bar stools. Right now it's open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, 5:3--10; the bar is open until midnight, and there is apparently a bar snacks menu, available until 10. They'll open for lunch June 17.
There's a cocktail list with a few creative drinks and some classics (a Pegu was very well made) and a brief wine list. The menu has half a dozen each or so appetizers, salads (these are as much meat-heavy as veg), and entrees. The food is along the lines of Venus's offerings - New American/Californian, seasonal, sustainable and local seafood, etc. - but more refined and a bit more expensive for entrees (low-mid $20s, vs high teens-low $20s). Entrees include fish, duck, goat, apps/salads include squid, (I think) pork cheeks, and soup of the day had goat. the one veg entree was pasta.
I tasted: Grilled sardines with white bean puree and dill pesto. The two sardines were small enough and well-enough charred outside that one could eat them bones and all. The dill pesto was pleasant, the puree a plate filler.
A special of potato gnocchi with morels and truffle oil, browned in a cazuela with a bit of broth. Nice and light, the truffle oil not overdone.
Halibut with morels, asparagus, marble potatoes, olives. The halibut was perfectly cooked with a nicely crisp exterior, morels fulfill their own mandate, asparagus shaves too thin to have much presence, olives superflous. Overall, successful.
I didn't taste the duck breast; the person who ordered it thought it was okay, not great; it was cooked medium-well. Forgot to ask about the raw kale salad with prosciutto, but the eater seemed to like it.
Brioche beignets came with four slicks of sauce, chocolate-chicory, caramel, blackberry sage (maybe? the herb wasn't really present), and custard. The beignets were well made, being brioche, not as light as some others. Five bite-size beignets, four slicks of sauce - good, but not a ton of there there.
It is clearly aiming for the pre- and post-theater and concert crowds (we dined early and were asked if we needed to get to a show), and it will be good for that. It's a handsome enough room, lots of distressed wood, distressed, walls, but it will be plenty loud when full, with a dropped ceiling that's still quite high around the perimeter only.
Revival Bar & Kitchen
2102 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704