Located at the wrong end of Brighton Boulevard in what used to be a biker bar, the just-opened Rebel Restaurant is, like any number of similar cutting-edge establishments in New York, Portland, and Los Angeles, a happy shotgun marriage of high and low. Rebel, which opened on July 15, serves wine—and wine coolers, a beverage I never thought would see a revival. The night I was there, the bartender seemed to be wearing gym shorts. The place is decked out with skull-and-crossbones wallpaper in the bathroom and offbeat knickknacks in the dining room from chef-owner Dan Lasiy’s bachelor pad. The reclaimed table we sat at had a ’70s wet-bar rainbow finish to it.
The food, precise and hearty, arrives on estate-sale bought mismatched floral plates; the drinks are served in faux-crystal goblets (“grandma chic!,” our server said). Lasiy, who worked with me at Duo, grew up in a Ukrainian enclave of New Jersey and there are pierogi stuffed with mushrooms and foie gras, and babka (Polish sweet, yeasted bread) garnishing a panna cotta on the menu. There is delicate nori-wrapped snapper crudo served in a bright green bath of cucumber and herbs, and an imposing and perfectly cooked whole lamb’s head with a crown of microgreens. When we were there, Lasiy was tinkering with an icebox dessert made with Mr. Pibb, Dr Pepper’s downmarket cousin.
The two dishes everyone will be talking about: a small plate of roasted potatoes, first confited, then smashed and caramelized, accompanied by a deeply flavored black garlic aïoli; and a huge hunk of beef rib (pictured) still on its caramelized bone, braised and then griddled so its exterior is as crisp as toast. The rib is smeared with hot pepper sauce and a coleslaw-type dressing and garnished with mustard greens, peanuts, cilantro, and torn pieces of steamed bun.
Rebel seats about 55 inside and, on warm nights, you can sit on the patio, its chain-link border ingeniously shingled in particleboard.
3763 Wynkoop St., 303-297-3902