Revive is always packed at lunchtime, especially on weekdays. Oddly, I haven’t had experiences as amazing as the flocks of people frequenting this sandwich-and-salad place on East University might suggest. (My first few visits were characterized by expensive, mediocre food, a weird “Revive” smell and flies in my face.) Regardless, I was willing to give it another shot. Maybe I was missing something. How on earth can hordes of people be that wrong?
So, I stopped by on Sunday and decided to try the Chicken Panino — $7.25 gets you a sandwich with chicken and feta, roasted tomatoes and Greek dressing. Sounds good. Simple, clean, tasty. How can you screw this up, right?
Well, for one, the bread:ingredient ratio was way off. The bread was far too thick for what little Revive packs into the sandwich, and ends up drowning out the flavors. The chicken, feta, tomato and Greek dressing are a solid combination, but the meager portion of protein means I won’t be ordering this up again anytime soon.
Just to give the whole experience a fair shot, I also tried the Asian Noodles Salad with edamame, matchstick carrots, sweet peppers, herbs and spicy peanut dressing for another $6.25. Sadly, although colorful and nutrition-packed, I’m still searching for where the flavor might be hiding. Either it was the vegetables that Revive uses or the prep technique that went wrong for the dish. The edamame doesn’t add any substance, and the raw sweet peppers failed to provide that sweet crunch. The round, chewy noodles were the highlight of the salad, but eating noodles are more enjoyable with a punchy sauce — this one was missing all zip. I’m guessing a few squirts of Sriracha and some roasted vegetables would have made this a better noodle experience.
There are two other things that bother me about Revive (before I get down off this soap box). First, the restaurant has a serious issue with flies. The constant swarm of flies around my head, every time I eat there, is both annoying and — let’s be honest — more than a little gross. Also, the restaurant always smells like yesterday’s bread, which ain’t exactly appetizing.
That said, I can see why people eat there: it’s quick, convenient and has an expansive menu of soups, make-your-own salads and sandwiches that are healthier than other nearby spots. But, if I am going to spend $8 on a lunch — or in my case, $13.50 plus tax — it won’t be at Revive.
Address: 619 E University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat-Sun 10 a.m.-10 p.m.