Duck Hunt at Revival Market
The inside look
Photo by John Suh
Revival Market gets a lot of hype for their cafe, but they first and foremost claim to be the "neighborhood butcher, grocer, and charcutier." Every time I visit, I have not been able to drift past the market side, always spellbound by the small bounty of oddly shaped produce and, of course, the spread behind the glass: pork, venison, rabbit, duck, quail--some raw, some cured, others smoked or made into pâté.
By now, Chance, the meat guy, knows me as the girl who comes in and loves to nibble on samples of everything while hearing each product's story--where it came from, how it's raised or grown, what's special about it. There's smoked turkey; perfectly salty prosciutto; and super-salty slices of duck which, because of their brininess, are best eaten in a salad or wrapped around honeydew. There is even cured pork fat, pure in its gelatinous texture and tasty like you're munching on the best part of the bacon.
The best piece of meat I've had from Revival Market, though, is the duck breast. At about $13 per pound, we were at first hesitant to buy it. Having never cooked duck at home before, we were thoroughly intimidated, but we were finally convinced when Chance reminded us that the best way to cook "really awesome" meat is to simply season and cook. The result was the most marvelous duck confit I'd ever had: the meat juicy, the skin crispy. We tore at it with our forks and knives like savages, not bothering to even dress it with a compote or any sides. The best part is this dish was created at home.
After talking and dreaming duck for a week, we returned to Revival Market to buy more. To our horror, there were no fatty, deep-pink duck breasts behind the glass. It turned out the farmer hadn't delivered the duck that week, and we were asked to scribble our number down on a list already filled with other customers who are also apparently fiending for some Revival Market meats.
Two weeks later, we got the phone call, and we sped to that little store on Heights and White Oak. There, in our duck withdrawal-induced madness, bought the whole duck, head and all. It cost us a whopping $55, but we couldn't imagine another week without duck. The butcher separated the legs and thighs and deboned the breasts for us; we asked to take home the bones -- at that price, we'd be damned if we didn't use everything on that bird, including the bones for stock.
If you prefer to forgo pure carnivorism and eat a healthy, balanced meal, Revival Market has a small section dedicated to ripe, straight-from-the-farmland produce: beets, corn on the cob, zucchini flowers. My only wish would be for the fruits and vegetables section to double in size. Maybe if they can turn over the produce quicker, it will happen. (This is a hint, dear reader.) For the past two visits, I've bought Texas peaches, their sweet and juicy flesh a perfect dessert for my home-cooked Revival Market meal.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Houston dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.