Hubby and I are trying to get around to trying all the new places in town—there seems to be so many! So recently we had a night with nothing going on and decided to try Repeal.
Repeal is in Fountain Square in an old bank building—I love the interior of the place—it seems like so many places are going for that really sparse feel these days—it’s nice to go to a place with lots of character—a lot of warm wood everywhere, old tin ceiling tiles, and repurposed railings. The people working there are friendly and generally knowledgeable about the menu. The restaurant backs up to a distillery where they are making spirits to be used in their cocktails.
The menu doesn’t seem to have a particular theme—I think they were going with a 1920s Prohibition theme (the era of the building) at first, but it seems to have morphed into just a regular kind of menu with some items that have a little bit of a throwback feel to them. We started with the beer cheese and fries ($8). This was not exactly what I was expecting. I think I was thinking of some sort of bowl of cheese to dip fries into, and this was actually a plate of fries drizzled with very hot beer cheese. It wasn’t bad really, the fries were decent battered fries and once the beer cheese wasn’t so dang hot, and you could actually taste it, it tasted good. But because it was spread over the fries, it cooled quickly and then was almost too cool. I would prefer something else to dip in there—I know homemade pretzels are everywhere, but man, they are tasty with beer cheese. And these fries, while they were good battered fries, I would guess they aren’t making them in house.
For our main dishes, we split the smoked pork plate ($16), the pimento cheese sandwich ($9 +$2 for bacon) and the Brussels sprouts side dish ($6). My favorite of them all was probably the pimento cheese sandwich. It was nicely toasted bread and was topped with some arugula and tomato as well as jowl bacon that we added. I liked the arugula and tomato with it to give that hit of acid and to freshen it a bit. The pimento cheese spread was tasty—had a decent amount of kick to it, but not too much. Honestly though, while I would order the sandwich again for sure (I’m thinking it would make a great lunch), I think I would skip the jowl bacon on it. While it tastes good (there was more of it on the pork platter), I would prefer a crispier piece of bacon that isn’t as fatty on a sandwich. When you would bite into it, it often was hard to tear apart.
I did enjoy cutting bits of this same bacon on the pork platter and eating it with the other items that were there—the sausage and the pork belly. My favorite of the meats offered here (apparently they change up the cuts offered depending on the day) was the pork belly. It had the nice rich fattiness to it, but also a decent amount of the meatiness as well. All the meats had a nice smoky flavor as well. My absolute favorite thing about this otherwise fairly simple dish was the Carolina mustard sauce served with it. First of all, I love mustard BBQ sauce. Love it. But this one was really outstanding—it tasted extremely fresh and not at all thick and syrupy the way they can sometimes be—just a bright, well-seasoned mustardy kick with a nice touch of acid. I also liked the homemade pickles served on the side—it’s like they know me. Whenever I eat mustard sauce, I eat it with pickles. I just love that combination of flavors. I could pass on the sausage overall though, it was only ok, but the variety was nice.
The seasoning on the Brussels sprouts was really tasty—it had duck fat and white soy vinaigrette listed on the menu. The vinaigrette was really interesting and tasty and was a flavor that inspired me to try and duplicate it at home. The menu listed the sprouts as seared though, which wasn’t exactly true, they weren’t really very crunchy—there was a bit of sear on them, but not a lot. But the biggest problem here was that the sprouts weren’t really cooked enough. I really enjoyed the flavor of them, the smoky fat and the interesting vinaigrette, but I just wished the sprouts were a little more tender. Maybe steam them a bit first or something.
Our server was very helpful, and overall we really enjoyed the experience. I probably enjoyed the pimento cheese sandwich the best (although I loved that mustard sauce). I feel like there is some good potential here and I would like to return. The atmosphere is good and the restaurant was busy, but not so crazy that you couldn’t hear the person across the table from you. Who else has been and what have you had to eat?
630 Virginia Ave