Redwood Bistro opened in downtown Redwood City towards the end of last year. My brother joined me there for a quick dinner last month. I learned that the owners from Beijing and the Sichuan chef were formerly at 5As restaurant in Burlingame. When I told the waiter that I had been a 5As customer long ago, the wife came out of the kitchen to greet me like a long lost friend.
First up, Redwood Bistro Original Spicy Noodles, $8.95. Medium-hot and packed with a ton of meaty flavors, pickle-y accents, fragrant cilantro, tender strips of pork and umami depth. No longer made with hand-shaved noodles, but still a great bowl of rich soup noodles.
Golden Fried Fish Fillet with salted yolk, $13.50, had the most delicate greaseless crusting encasing the juicy hunks of white fish. But it was oddly bland and under salted. This came with unseasoned steamed broccoli. A little salt popped out more flavor from both components.
Water-boiled Beef, $12.50, was not as fiery as served at local Sichuan specialists. The beef was slippery and tender. But no celery or greens in this version, and Sichuan peppercorns were pretty scarce too. I offered this feedback to our waiter. When he brought out our packed leftovers, he said that the chef fixed it and we'll enjoy it more at home.
Redwood Bistro isn't perfect. But it can hold its own as a neighborhood Chinese restaurant. I think it's the type of place where figuring out the strengths of the menu can reap rewards. Prices seem about 20% less than typical. And we were given discount coupons for a return visit. The staff are very friendly here and they serve up big portions of tasty, rustic food. What else is good here?
711 El Camino Real
Redwood City, CA