November 2007 Issue
November Featured Restaurant
Findlay, a town of about 40,000 some 50 miles south of Toledo, is nicknamed Flag City, U.S.A., a tag reflecting the all-American qualities that artists like John Mellencamp like to croon about. Still, under its stars-and-bars suit, we’ve always sensed a hip sophistication to this city that made us think the coffeehouse crowd would like it here, too.
Which is why, while scrolling through the online edition of the Wall Street Journal last June, an article by famed food writer Raymond Sokolov about then seven-month-old Revolver (named for the predecessor of today’s iPods and CD players), made our own turntables screech to a halt.
Revolver, just west of Findlay’s main drag, is marked by a brown awning embossed with the restaurant’s funky robin’s egg blue, tangerine and green logo that owners Michael and Debi Bulkowski designed themselves. The couple explains that the design purposely integrates seasonality and music, two elements they emphasize in their restaurant. But if you didn’t catch that on your way in, check your menu, where the featured weekly artist (anyone from The Beatles to John Coltrane) and spotlighted local growers are listed at the top.
|Revolver's duck rillette appetizer.
|Owner and chef Michael Bulkowski and his assistant chefs.
Despite time spent at restaurant heavy-hitters including Spago and Trio in Chicago, Bulkowski doesn’t have an ounce of pretense when you ask him to describe his food. “Do it simple, do it well is pretty much it,” he laughs. His approach is reflected in the presentation of dishes such as the grilled New York strip with creamy polenta and red wine reduction, which is an enormous steak on a white, 10-inch plate, served with a small white bowl of creamy polenta. On our visit, we ordered a duck rillette appetizer — a small terrine of slowly cooked duck that resembles pate, served with four square dishes of sweet and savory toppings and crostini — that made us think the chef might be a bit of a closet exhibitionist. We also ordered grilled pork loin with wheatberry “risotto,” fresh soybeans and braised radishes, organic greens with bacon, maytag blue cheese and beets. This time of year, Chef Bulkowski says shellfish, apples and squash are the backbone of the menu.
Revolver focuses on modern Midwestern cuisine in a mid-century modern setting, explains Bulkowski. The decor is as interesting as the food: Touches like 1950s Blenko glass decanters, molded plastic chairs and blood-orange and tangerine tiling create an inviting room. — Jenny Pavlasek
REVOLVER 110 East Sandusky St., Findlay, 419/424-4020. www.revolverrestaurant.net. Dinner on Mon. 5:30-close; lunch and dinner Tues.– Sat. 11:30-close. Dinner entrees $13–$27. CR, Handicapped Accessible