Thursday, August 10, 2006

Wine Country Shenanigans Pt. 3 - Redd
One of my favorite meals this summer has got to be at Redd in how-many-tasting-menus-can-you-stomach Yountville. While it's no metropolis by far, one cannot go hungry walking through this Bay Area fine dining destination. There's even a janky bar chock-full of shady characters and polished hurleys parked outside. Yes, there's a Yountville for everyone.


This picture really does not do the space justice. Designed by Peter Guzy of Asfour Guzy, the restaurant features a minimalist interior with many a white wall flanked by dark cedar, and accented by charcoal-dyed peacoat wool upholstery. As a lover of all things sterile (Apple store for example), the space really enhanced the dining experience.

Everything in the restaurant showed a touch of elegance, down to the printed collateral. The embossed business cards were die-cut with a perforated rule, and the menus shared the same detail.

Most items on the menu sounded good. Not wanting to miss out on anything, Julyanne and I both went with the 4 course tasting menu. We each received different courses, and basically covered everything I wanted to try on the menu.

Sashimi of hamachi, sticky rice, edamame, lime ginger sauce 13

The yellowtail was fresh and smooth, but the real standout was the rice. Harder and more al dente than sushi rice, it was sour, sweet, and zesty at the same time. The seaweed salad was also a good flavor component of this appetizer.

Yellowfin tuna and hamachi tartare, avocado, chili oil, fried rice 17

This was one of my favorite courses of the day. No doubt it was a great tartare--the fish was smooth and fresh, and the avocado added a creamy balance. What I liked most, however, was the deep-fried rice bits that added a wonderful contrast of textures. Light and refreshing, this course was great for a warm Napa day.

Caramelized diver scallops, cauliflower puree, almonds, balsamic reduction 24

I couldn't help but draw parallels to the famed scallops dish at Jean Georges, and I daresay Redd's was better. I'll skip the part about the scallops being seared perfectly, and skip to the creamy cauliflower puree, which was sinfully rich and smooth. The almonds added texture and the green raisins balanced out the rich balsamic and grassy olive oil.

Petrale sole, chorizo, calamari, saffron curry sauce 22

This was yet another favorite. The sole was cooked perfectly, and it lay atop a bed of ethereal mashed potatoes and a delectable array of calamari, octobpus, and chorizo. What did it for me was the saffron curry sauce, which was a great flavor combination and maintained its foamy physique.

Wolfe ranch quail, soft polenta, cheddar cheese, mole sauce 23

This was perhaps the favorite course of the day. The quail was succulent with a crispy browned skin. I've never had a quail preparation with Mexican spices, and this worked extremely well. The cheddar polenta was not heavy at all; the white corn and jicama added a nice refreshing crunch. Finally, the perfectly seasoned mole sauce topped off this creative and refined dish.

Braised beef shortrib, horseradish crust, potato puree, chanterelles 25

According to our server, the shortribs took two days to make, and I believe him. Intensely flavorful but not oversalted, the tender shortribs were topped with a crunchy horseradish crust, which helped to add texture rather than flavor. The whipped potatoes were ethereally light, albeit a bit flavorless. I absolutely adore chanterelles, and they were small and delicate, interspersed with haricots verts and baby carrots. I felt the beef stock reduction and the pepper was a bit superfluous, though I did appreciate how the pepper was coarse.

Chocolate trifle, raspberry sorbet 9

While the apps and entrees were exceptional, the desserts fell a bit short of our expectations. Chocolate and raspberry? Not the most original (nor my favorite) pairing, and I know Redd can do better. I enjoyed the tart sorbet most of all out of this rather disappointing dessert.

Lime semifreddo, summer melon, tequila granitè 9

I need to mention that when we were given the desserts, a different and rather curt server briefly ran off the names and left us with a guessing competition. Tart and light, the half-frozen block seemed like a citrus semifreddo to me. I ate a spoonful of the granite, not knowing what it was and subsequently burning my epiglottis; Julyanne thought it was frozen alcohol. Turns out we were pretty much on the mark. I found the dessert pretty interesting, though I can't say it was too enjoyable.

When the meal was done, I did my usual tour of the kitchen; I was surprised to find it so small. Here you see one of the sous chefs and Redd himself, in the black apron. We were delighted to find that they "knew" who we were (the two tasting menus and a birthday).

I must also make a mention of the bathroom. It had a beautiful sink, and they were playing some swanky downtempo, something along the lines of Sven Vath.

Redd is definitely worth the trip over to Yountville, so head over before it gets too hard to get in.

6480 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599

Part 4

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Blogger Catherine said...

Hi there,

Your photos are so awesome. So how do you get the usual tour of the kitchen? I'd love to know.


8/10/2006 9:38 PM  
Blogger Hungry Hedonist said...


Just ask to tour the kitchen, and they are usually more than happy to accommodate. Love your patriotic mitt, btw.

8/12/2006 6:18 PM  
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