We went to Redd for a lunch on the patio on a perfectly sunny and mild Saturday afternoon, and I think that everyone should do that once in a while. There’s a decidedly metropolitan feel to the restaurant, for all its minimalist decor that verges on the stark, but it’s also very comfortable and lets you peacefully enjoy the graceful, but not fussy, cuisine. The food is vivid — displaying a fine of understanding of color, texture, and flavor — and although there are many ingredients from around the world, it doesn’t feel like fusion so much as an awareness of different foods and how well they can work together and be served in interesting ways.
Redd opened in November 2005, and it’s still considered a hot new restaurant in the valley. It’s also something of a steal if you get the tasting menu — it’s $50 for 4 courses and $75 for 7 courses. And it’s literally a tasting of the menu — the courses are selected by the Chef straight from the regular menu. Chad and I got the 4 course tasting menu, and we were served different dishes for each course, which was an excellent way to get a sense of what Redd has to offer. And although most of the dishes were wonderful, no matter what you do, definitely make sure that you get dessert. It’s exciting.
This Mai Tai, with 10 Cane and Zaya Rum, Orgeat Syrup, Splash Lemon, and Pineapple, was recommended by the waiter, but I was a little disappointed by it. It tasted like a perfectly fine sweet pineapple juice mixed drink, but I really wanted something more along the lines of a slightly sour, full-bodied mai tai.
Yellowfin Tuna and Hamachi Tartare, Avocado, Chili Oil, Fried Rice. I liked how the fried rice were little clusters of fried rice, rather than what you’d expect.
Sashimi of Hamachi, Sticky Rice, Edamame, Lime Ginger Sauce.
Petrale Sole, Chorizo, Calamari, Saffron Curry Sauce. I’m usually against foam, but it worked very nicely here. Not only was it very soft and unobstrusive, but it was kind of an adventure to see what you’d find underneath different areas.
Caramelized Diver Scallops, Cauliflower Puree, Almonds, Balsamic Reduction. This was the only real disappointment. The scallops were just chewy enough to be unappetizing (though they had a lovely caramelization), and the plate was pretty bland overall.
At about this time, we ordered this Sazerac, which had Knob Creek Bourbon, Hine Cognac, Pernod, Peychauds and Angostura Bitters, lemon twist… because who has time for mixers? I guess many people, because the waiter had never had any one order it before, and even came back to our table after we ordered it to make sure that was what we wanted.
I loved it. It blended all the flavors well for a fiery, slightly licorice flavor. And it was the first time that I really appreciated a lemon twist, because without it, the fumes from the alcohol were very strong when you went to drink it.
Wolfe Ranch Quail, Soft Polenta, Cheddar Cheese, Mole Sauce. I like the use of jicama in this dish because it’s such a crisp, light contrast to this otherwise creamy, heavy dish. There may have been even a little too much loaded on the plate, because by the end, I felt like I was sloshing my way through it a bit. But the quail was so juicy and flavors were so good, so it was hard to stop.
Braised Beef Shortrib, Horseradish Crust, Potato Puree, Chantarelles.
Chocolate Milk Shake with Chocolate Sandwiches. There are so many wonderful things going on here. First, the creamy, delicious chocolate shake, and then three variations on chocolate sandwiches with assorted fillings, with different and only-slightly-different textures and temperatures. The ice cream sandwich had mint chocolate chip ice cream, and I think there was a mint creme in the thin chocolate sandwich. Awesome.
Peach Beignets with Blackberries. I loved this dessert. Although they were deep-fried in a relatively thin coating of beignet batter, the peaches were preserved perfectly inside, full of flavor and that ripe peach texture, and they were so good within the warm, crispy, and doughy beignets. And the blackberry coulis was somehow unbelievable, being so velvety and rich with berry-ness. I’d never felt like that about a coulis before. And the ice cream subtly added a creaminess when you wanted it… and it even made the coulis a different kind of heavenly.