In November 2017, a chow pal and I had a leisurely lunch meeting at The Red Grape, off Sonoma Plaza. My previous visit here would have been a decade or so ago for pizza. Nowadays the menu offers a fuller selection of dishes.
Starting with the Gorgonzola salad, $8.25 (small): Spring mix, apple, red grapes, spicy pecans, gorgonzola, cider vinaigrette. Heavy with rich nuts, cheese and red grapes properly sliced in half to release their juices, this had minimal greens for fans of the loaded style.
Braised pork cheeks, $11.00: A special appetizer of the day, soft pork in a slightly sweet, almost barbecue-like saucing, and garnished with frisee, slivers of red apple and pistachios.
Butternut squash raviolis, $18.00: Lovely version with a creamy sauce and firm pasta, and I'm always a sucker for crispy fried sage leaves.
Chorizo and Manchego pizza, $18.00: Zoe’s spicy chorizo, garlic, black olives, pepperoncini, red onion, tomatoes, El Pastor manchego cheese. From the white pie side of the menu using an extra virgin olive oil and garlic base, putting the Spanish flavors of a tapas bar on a pie crust worked for me. I especially liked the lively juiciness of the cherry tomatoes to balance the salty elements. The thin crust's on the blonde side here. Still, this was my favorite lunch bite.
Flourless Chocolate Cake: Scoop vanilla ice cream, anglaise sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream. The front of the house staff surprised us with this comped dessert as thanks for our service. We protested, saying that we were not first responders but they wouldn't be dissuaded. I wound up being very glad that this was offered, as I've not had a flourless chocolate cake for ages and probably would not have ordered it on my own. When they're as good as this with a molten center, elegant saucing and luscious ice cream, you remember how this style became such a fixture on dessert menus. I would get this again.
Coming back to The Red Grape after so many years was fun and delicious. And we were glad to support one of the businesses that lent volunteers to the No Pay Cafe/Cafe Gratis and the emergency food response during the wildfire crisis.
The Red Grape
529 1st St W
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