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Restaurants & Bars 3

03/08 Redd, Yountville: A Four Star Experience

opinionatedchef | Apr 10, 200809:38 AM

(just don’t order the seen-before Brunch items).

This experience began with the worst possible scenario.It was a beautiful spring Sunday. But my Navigator's eyes had been distracted by the beauty and My Love had taken a wrong turn in northern Napa,thinking that 121 was the Silverado Trail. Soooooooo, we had ended up on a 1 hour-plus detour into the torturous roads of hinterland w/o a soul in sight. By the time we arrived for our Lunch reservation at Redd, we were 1 1/2 hours late and I was furious.

Now that's a bad way to start any restaurant experience. But I am here to tell you that in the quiet zen of that space, with the four star food and 10 star service of Abraham Enriques, we quickly shed that misfortune and settled in for a wonderful experience.

The light filled white and black room was comfortable and minimalist( a little too, for my taste. let's have some flowers here, folks.) It was quiet, but it was also late in the lunch/brunch service so I don't know how it is on a busy night. In the same vein, because it was so quiet/slow, we were able to have Abraham to ourselves. And boy was he a server I would like to clone and distribute to all the world's restaurants. With a professional pastry chef/ father (Exec. Pastry Chef at Domaine Chandon)he grew up in the business and his food knowledge and positive attitude were just super. His recommendations were terrific. Unlike a recent CH poster who wasn't happy with the seen-before brunch dishes, we went for the lunch items.

I was walking through Elyssian Fields with my app of Hamachi, Sticky Rice and Lime Ginger Sauce. Sure, I've seen many many variations of this dish (and I love that fact!!) but how many times has a chef given me THREE to FOUR ounces of hamachi sashimi for $12 ??!!!! It's usually 1- 1.5 oz. (I'll never forget the talented and arrogant Jeremiah Tower, demonstrating his Salmon Carpaccio to a room of Boston chefs , 20 odd years ago, and joyfully exclaiming how his food costs were nil but he was able to charge alot for this visually large (but paper thin) serving.)

For entrees, My Love had the Duck confit with Black Trumpet Risotto and Thyme Jus. Again, we've all seen duck confit on a million menus. But THIS one was honestly the best I've ever tasted ( and that is all I got, believe me!). Finally, a chef who doesn't overseason his confit. It was just silky subtlety, accompanied by a perfect risotto.

Very uncharacteristically for me, I ordered the little Veal and ricotta meatballs with gnocchi and black trumpets, in a demi type sauce. Again, very generous portions, and lovely flavors. Not a fault to be found.

The talented pastry chef, Nicole Plue, serves the creamiest and best Coconut 'Sorbet'
(it seems that Coco Lopez may account for the creaminess) I've eve had.

And her take on Michel Richard's Milk Chocolate Gianduja feuillete bar is sublime enough as it is, but is accompanied by a fascinating and complex-layered Peanut Honeycomb Parfait in a glass. I think I actually counted 12- plus components to this dish; now THAT is alot for a dessert, and we see some of the reasons why Nicole has been James Beard nominated.

So Redd was a wonderful experience for us on our annual Cal. foodie vacation. Next time we'll go for dinner, where there are so many more enticing choices....

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