REVS- Excellence in Clovis DiningApr 06, 2018 04:36PM ● By Richard Melella
Tile, etched with the name Rev’s defines the boundary of the kitchen where Chef Brian Velasquez and his twenty year-old son Blaze (red bandana tied around his head, reminiscent of a kitchen warrior) start each dish. “Every dish. Every time,” a mantra he uses to describe the restaurant’s commitment to excellence.
His wife Renee, a bowl of homemade clam chowder in front of her, sits at the table next to my own family. Glass bottles of Sprite and a cold glass of nugget ice (beloved by ice connoisseurs) preoccupy my sons while my husband and I talk with Chef Velasquez and his wife about the intersection of family and food. Pretty soon it’s 4 p.m., an hour and half before the restaurant’s busiest hours, and preparation is in high gear. It may be early, but Rev’s is ready for an onslaught of early dinner orders, every one of which passes by the two “Chef’s Tables” where we’re seated, directly in the middle of the kitchen hustle.
A server approaches the tile wall: “Do we have fried polenta tonight? The lady over there wants to know if we still have it…?”
They do. Served alongside the Chilean Sea Bass—a perfect filet (freshly cut from the whole and never frozen fish that Chef Velasquez insists on ordering) of buttery fish paired with local beets and a subtle lemon beurre blanc.
There’s another short conversation between a server and Chef in front of our table--- someone in the front wants the recipe to the Lobster Mac and Cheese, and in that moment, the boundary of kitchen and dining room disappears as Chef Velasquez leaves the kitchen to provide it. The tile wall boundary is just an illusion—there is no boundary between dining room and kitchen, which is exactly the way that Chef Velasquez and his wife designed it: “We wanted it to feel like you came over to someone’s house.” And it does feel like that, in an atmospheric sense—casual and authentic, the only significant disparity being that the “average house” would be devoid of the uniquely down-to-Earth, but simultaneously upscale, food. In fact, it’s that very idea that’s inspired the restaurant’s wildly popular family-style dinners on the last Sunday of every month, supper club-style. Chef Velasquez and his wife attribute the new restaurant’s success to the support of the community; Rev’s is part food and part people, the quality of each enhanced by the other.
Our server arrives with appetizers on two white plates, one lined with colossal fried shrimp and a hot and spicy dipping sauce and the other with Escargot, delicate shells balanced on house bread and topped with a garlic butter sauce.
Soon after, Chef Velasquez returns to our table, the Cowboy Cut 20 oz. Ribeye in his hands, smiling and presenting us with the plate: “This is what I would eat.” It’s a modern spin on steak and potatoes, a delicately marbled ribeye perched on thin cut fries and smothered in sautéed mushrooms and onions, paired with demi-glace and topped with Tobiko caviar.
The steak is representative of the restaurant- it’s upscale without the pomp and circumstance—it’s real, and authentic, a subtle luxury without the pretention. We try Day Boat Scallops, paired with locally sourced tri-color carrots, lemon saffron sauce and savory herb rice and like all things Rev’s, it’s delicious.
Dessert was the tipping point…the point at which two of my sons would resort to R-Sham-Bo to resolve a friendly argument. Reserved specifically for weekends, the crispy golden brown of each of the mini donuts on the plate gave way to a strawberry or lemon filling and only shortly after their presentation, an argument between my two sons over which flavor they could lay claim to.
Shortly after, their spoons clattered against the thin glass holding Rev’s creamy Panna Cotta, topped with berries and tiny granules of lemon ice and we were done, but undeniably reluctant to leave the comfort of the restaurant and the people who created it. Still we knew to stay too long would be unfair—as there were new people to come, visit and enjoy this place, among food, wine, friends and family.
Article and Photography: By Amy K. Guerra www.amyguerra.com/thymepluswine
Rev’s is located at 401 Clovis Avenue, Suite 102 in the heart of Old Town Clovis. For reservations or more information, call 559-324-7387 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.