Revival (Decatur, GA)

Written by Mark McElroy

Revival’s fare looks picture perfect, but fails the taste test.

Clyde and I enjoyed one of our favorite meals ever — a progression of culinary surprises, from Spanish octopus with candied coriander to Buffalo spiced pork belly — at Kevin Gillespie’s boisterous, manic Gunshow. You can imagine, then, how excited we were to take family from Mississippi to Gillespie’s “Southern Grandmother”-themed restaurant, Revival.

For $42.00 per person, the “family-style dinner” at Revival serves up exactly what you’d expect: kale salads, corn bread, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens, plus fried chicken, fried fish, and even fried pies. But of all the dishes we sampled, only the mac and cheese (with its touch of Velveeta and crown of Utz potato chips) drew nods of approval (and those weren’t unanimous).

Other sides failed to impress, including the over-salted cat’s head biscuit dressing. The fried chicken, with the meat imprisoned in a tough shell of hard-fried batter, couldn’t hold a candle to the boxed-up yardbird from the Publix deli. After dessert, more than half our bread pudding and lemon ice box pie remained on the plate.

At the end of the meal, we did what polite Southern families do: we smiled, we nodded, we agreed that everything was good — and then left, shaking our heads and saying, “Bless their hearts.”

Carefully-crafted themes and picture-perfect presentations cannot compensate for lackluster flavor. If you’re considering Revival, may we suggest the Colonnade (a real Atlanta institution, serving comfort food on Cheshire Bridge Road since 1927) instead?

Weight Watcher Advice
You could choose to spend a lot of points here, given all the deep-fried cheesy goodness. Skip the $42.00 family style option, and order the kale salad and a fish dish. Have a bite of the cornbread before committing; in my opinion, it’s not a good bargain. The desserts are large, but not very point-worthy, so I advise ordering just one for three or four people to share.

About the author

Mark McElroy

Adventure dining is fine with me, but I have a real passion for those consistent, unique, affordable neighborhood places you can go any night of the week. I'm also a little obsessed with great pizza. As a Weight Watcher, I'm learning to balance my love for good food with a healthier, sustainable way of eating.

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