Corks+Forks: Korean BBQ and Primotivo

Expertly-cooked beef and wine from Italy’s heel — a match made in pairing heaven.

When faced with the dilemma of an extensive and enticing bill of fare, a foodie must weigh her menu decision based upon the beverage at hand. In other words, what booze is in your glass and what culinary goodness will match it?

At Revel, the latest addition to the brasserie repertoire of husband and wife chef duo Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, extensiveness isn’t the issue – it’s that all 12 menu items sound divine.

The Urbanspoon darling opened early this year and is continuously receiving its fair share of press from local and national mediums. Nonetheless, the humble chefs are still gracious when a drunken UW grad slobbers over one of their monthly rotating dumplings and proclaims its excellence.

In a borderline stalker motif, I have frequented the restaurant, getting high off of the seasonal menu and Korean-influenced cuisine, much unlike its peers that line 36th Avenue. Although Revel may stray from the authentic guidelines of the International District, they offer a culinary experience the neighborhood has never seen — and never knew it wanted.

By intricately sampling the menu over time, I’ve realized one thing – Korean-trained chefs know how to cook their beef. Given the cultural trimmings aligned with the beef, pairing with wine might seem to be a more difficult task. Don’t fret, it’s not.

The Dish: Rice bowl with boneless short rib, sambal (chili-based sauce) soaked daikon, egg yolk and mustard greens. The meat is finished to a textbook medium-rare temperature and sits pretty on a bed of the remaining ingredients, all catered to contribute to the beef.

The Grape Variety: Primitivo. Possibly a clonal Italian relative of Zinfandel, Primitivo is an indiginious grape of Puglia — also known as the “heel” of Italy.

Why It Works: Puglia is a naturally hotter region of Southern Italy, and this thick-skinned grape can take the heat without necessarily showing its alcohol content — and thus, allowing it to be a quaffable food wine. It’s typically dark red with sweet-seeming fruity flavors, yet it manages to remain completely dry. It’s smoky, rich and bold, which parallels the piquancy of the short ribs.

The Recommended Wine Match: Tormaresco 2008 Torcicoda Primitivo Salento IGT. The peninsula of Salento, which digs into the deepest corner of the heel, provides a maritime climate and bright acidity to the grapes that grow in its heat-driven climate.

This is “high-end” Primitivo (at only $20 a bottle), so consumers get a great value with this wine that’s blasted with red fruits, vanilla and licorice, backed by a silky smooth palate of vibrant acidity and beef-requesting tannins.

Do Rachel and Seif a justice here and give their food a qualified dancing partner. Then, just let the two of them lead.

Revel | 403 N 36th St., Seattle | (206) 547-2040