At Revival Market, gone are the big central shelf units of dry goods like spices, vinegars and chips. The coolers and produce case have disappeared as well. In their places are tables and chairs.
There are still items for sale. Many of the most popular, such as maple syrup and dried Rancho Gordo beans, now reside on shelves against the back wall. Most notably, there’s still a butcher case with pork, beef and charcuterie. Morgan Weber, who co-owns Revival along with chef Ryan Pera, says, “We kept everything that people really cared about.”
Revival Market, with its big charcuterie case, esoteric goods, top-notch coffee program and counter-style casual breakfast and lunch service, was the precursor to Coltivare, Pera and Weber’s restaurant. Coltivare earned accolades practically upon opening its doors and it wasn’t long before it started being referred to as one of Houston’s best restaurants.
So, it’s an odd twist of fate that the market that spawned Coltivare is now more like a younger sibling than a parent. The dishes are different, but the creative takes with a heavy focus on local ingredients is substantially the same. The main difference is that where Coltivare has an Italian theme, Revival is more of an homage to the low country.
Pera says the theme is that of a “preservation kitchen,” and indeed, you’ll see a lot of homemade pickles and preserves here. There is also a sense that everything has a function. Pig skin is turned into airy planks of chicharróns. Charcuterie boards sport coppa made from heritage breed Red Wattle pigs, aged cheddar, pork pate with shallots, thyme, Luxardo cherries and bourbon. Alongside is marmalade infused with honey and coriander. Lowly peanuts are incorporated into hummus. Baby carrots are fermented in a salt water brine and, alongside that hummus, add the right kind of brightness, lift and crunch.
Not everything is so theoretically far-reaching. There’s never anything wrong with a good old steak and Revival comes through in a spectacular way with a twenty-ounce strip loin from Texas ranch 44 Farms. A big spoonful of miso butter is on top and spring vegetable kimchi comes alongside. At $45, it'll cost you, but it's plenty big enough to share.
There are a few desserts to choose from as well, including a memorable lemon vanilla panna cotta with cold-brewed espresso and cocoa nibs. It's perhaps the opposition of textures that make it so compelling—that, and the fact that the panna cotta is one of the silkier, finer renditions in the city.
For now, Revival Market is BYOB. They’ve applied for their liquor license and are hoping to receive it early in the summer. It could be later, though, so it’s wise to come armed with your choice of adult beverage. Once they can serve alcohol, expect a similarly resourceful cocktail program with oddball ingredients. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that something as random as peanut-infused bourbon could show up. Whether you love or hate that idea, it's just one more thing that will ensure that, when having dinner at Revival, you'll never be bored.