2018-12-01 / Dishing

Local Flavor

Revival Kitchen’s Quintin and Liz Wicks are ready to serve you — and they’re going to do it exactly how they want.
Maggie Anderson | Photos by Matt Fern

Chef Quintin Wicks is back in the kitchen again. Since February, when the original Revival Kitchen restaurant in downtown Reedsville closed, he and Liz have gotten married, bought a house and turned that house into a gorgeous new restaurant, custom-built kitchen included, just a few houses down the street. It’s been a busy seven months, but Quintin and Liz are ready to get cooking.

And their customers are equally eager for that. When they started taking reservations in October for their reopening starting Nov. 30, the phone rang all day.

“I was here painting with Moses (Hostetler), our Amish farmer, and the phone just kept ringing,” says Quintin. “It was flattering. Moses was like, ‘I think you guys are going to be all right.’”

That was reassurance Quintin and Liz definitely needed, despite the great success of the original Revival Kitchen, which they opened in 2015 just down the street from their new place.

“This is totally different than what we did down there,” says Quintin of the new format, which will switch from an a la carte menu, where guests order the dishes they want, to a five-course tasting menu that has only slight flexibility (when the kitchen is made aware ahead of time) for those with allergies or certain dietary restrictions.

“The idea of the tasting menu is so we can showcase the best of the best that’s seasonal,” says Quintin.

“This is going to be experiential dining.”

At the new Revival, guests will all arrive at the same time, around 6:30 p.m., for the one seating on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Service will start around 7 p.m. with an amuse-bouche, or a small bite to start the meal, and continue with five courses over two hours or so.

This is the kind of meal that is meant to be reveled in, and this food is worth taking your time. Because not only are the ingredients seasonal, but how Quintin puts them together seems to match the time as well. Take the sunchoke hors d’ouvres he prepared for us (see recipe at right): It’s a one-bite journey to sitting in front of a fire while the wind howls outside. It’s just cozy.

Part of that, maybe, is in the presentation — Quintin placed the sunchoke bites under a glass dome that he then filled with hickory smoke, which was released at the table. It’s a bit of showmanship to even further showcase the prime ingredients on the plate.

“Our restaurant is going to be somewhat interactive,” says Liz, whose official title in the partnership is general manager. “That kind of element is definitely going to be part of the menu.”

Extra touches like that, and a renewed focus on quality, are what Quintin and Liz seem most excited about.

“We’ve downsized to eight tables,” says Quintin, “so this will be a little more manageable and we can deliver a better experience and higher quality product. We’ll be able to do exactly what we want and do it really well.”

That includes things like making his own guanciale, an Italian cured meat made from pork cheeks, or his own black garlic, which takes eight days at low heat to become the dense, sticky, chewy and much sweeter version of its original form.

That black garlic is also available on the Friends & Farmers Cooperative Online Market, under the name Hostetler’s Naturals.

“Our farmer Moses always grows a ton of garlic,” says Quintin, “and it’s some of the best garlic I’ve ever had. He’s always looking at a way to preserve it, so we started to do this.”

After living in Colorado for 15 years, Quintin decided to move back to the area where he grew up. And he knew there was a bounty to be had.

“Every time I would come home to visit, I always planned my trips around morel season,” says Quintin. “We’d pick morels and dig ramps and then cook all this food. I’d go back to Colorado and show my friends pictures, and they’d be like, ‘Wow, it looks like there’s awesome stuff to use there.’”

And indeed there is, though like hunting the elusive spring morel, it’s not always easy — but it is worth it.

“The proof’s in the pudding,” says Quintin. “You can go to the grocery store and get a squash, then go to Moses’s and get a squash. Bring them here, I’ll cook them side by side, same preparation, blindfold you, and I guarantee you’d think Moses’s is better, hands down.”

Taste is tops, but so is another part of the “local” emphasis: the community. Quintin points out that buying local keeps money local — and helps keep neighbors in business. It all comes back around.

“We’re just humble people trying to make a living,” says Quintin. “Everyone thinks we’re crazy, and we are. ‘Why would you open a restaurant like this in this area?’ Well, because no one else is doing it, and there’s a need.” •SCM

Roasted Sunchoke Hors d’Ouevres

“This would be a great hors d’ouevre for a party,” says Quintin. “And this could be a possible amuse-bouche that shows up on your table.” While he uses his own cured guanciale, you can substitute with prosciutto or speck. And if sunchokes aren’t available, try grilled celery root. “My favorite way to eat it is grilled right now. Just olive oil, salt and pepper and char it on the grill. It’s so good.”

3-4 sunchokes
3-4 slices prosciutto
2 cloves black garlic, sliced
1 tsp. fresh thyme
Balsamic vinegar reduction
Salt, pepper and lemon zest to taste
Maldon salt to garnish

Clean sunchokes well; cut into large bite-sized pieces.

Toss in olive oil then with salt, pepper, thyme and lemon zest.

Roast at 400 degrees F on a lined sheetpan for about 10 minutes, or until they’re completely soft.

Remove sunchokes from oven. Wrap with one-fourth of prosciutto slice and top with black garlic.

Drizzle with olive oil and return to oven for about four minutes, just until they’re warmed through.

Remove from oven and drizzle with balsamic reduction and sprinkle with Maldon salt to serve.

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