Adventures in Dining

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Redd, April 5, 2010 May 21, 2011

Filed under: California Wine Country — hpandaw @ 8:10 pm

This was our last night in Napa Valley, and we decided to follow the recommendation from the tasting guide at Silenus and dine at Redd.  This was our favorite meal of the week, both because of the quality of the food and because of the attentive, friendly, yet unobtrusive service.  We opted for the 5-course tasting menu.  I told our server about my dining preferences, and then we were off for our culinary adventure!
My first course was sashimi of hamachi, sticky rice, edamame, lime ginger sauce.  This was excellent!  It was so light and yet so flavorful. The slightly crunche edamames perfectly complemented the meltingly soft hamachi, and the lime ginger sauce added nice depth to this simple yet beautiful dish.
My husband’s first course was yellowfin tuna tartare, asian pear, avocado, chili oil, and fried rice.  This was also meltingly tender, and it was perfectly spiced.  It pushed the envelope but stopped just short of being too spicy. I’m sensitive to heat, and I thought it was perfectly done.
My next course was caramelized diver scallops, cauliflower puree, almonds, and balsamic reduction.  This was also delicious.  The scallops were perfectly done: tender and so flavorful.  The cauliflower puree added a bit of a darker flavor to the dish which made it more interesting than most other scallop dishes that I’ve had.
My husband’s next course was Atlantic cod, coconut jasmine rice, clams, chorizo, and saffron curry nage.  This was another excellent course.  He really liked the chorizo, and I was able to taste a bit of his fish that didn’t have any chorizo contact. The fish itself was so tender, but it had a lovely crispy skin that contrasted beautifully.
After this, the chef sent out an additional course: a plate of creamy pasta with spring vegetables.  This was very nice, though we agreed that it could have used a bit more salt.  The bites that had shaved parmesan in them were perfectly salted, since the parmesan added salt to the bite, but when we had bites without the parmesan, these were the ones that needed salt.  I really liked the peas, which I expected to be sweeter, but which were nicely al dente and savory.  My husband likened the noodles to ramen, which was kind of fun.
My next course was skatewing, calamari, chickpea and pepper ragout, pinenuts, olives, aioli.  This was probably my least favorite of the dishes.  It had yellow raisins in it, which I’m not a big fan of, and it was very Mediterranean in flavor. Some people might like this, but it’s not really my style.  The skatewing, too, while well done, was not my favorite type of fish.  I tend to like thicker and juicier fish like tuna or sea bass, so it just wasn’t my preference.
My husband’s next course was glazed pork belly, apple puree, burdock, and soy caramel.  He thought that the apple went really well with the pork, which was tender and moist.
My next course was wild Alaskan halibut, onion fondue, spring peas, and five spice.  Again, the peas were nicely al dente and not sweet or mushy like some peas I’ve had (frozen or canned!).  The halibut was much more my style of fish, moist and light and delicious.  The five spice was very interesting with this dish, and I liked it.
My husband’s next dish was prime New York steak and shortribs, celery root puree, bacon and cipollini onion ragout.  He preferred the texture of the short ribs, with their deep and dark taste, and he really enjoyed the bacon and ragout.  This was a nice surprise.
My husband’s dessert was peanut butter, milk chocolate gianduja, and peanut honeycomb parfait.  This was fabulous.  The peanut butter and milk chocolate gianduja was rich and creamy, with a nice crispiness to it.  The peanut honeycomb parfait was delicious, light and creamy, but with the really nice crisp of the honeycomb.
My dessert was vanilla bean fontainebleu, rhubarb ice, and farina fritters.  Of these two dishes, I wasn’t really sure how the fritters connected with the fontainebleu, so I was left feeling like I had two very different, completely unrelated dishes on one plate.  The farina fritters weren’t very sweet, and I just didn’t care for them.  The fontainebleu, though, was gorgeous.  It was light, not too heavy and rich at all, but creamy and delicious.  The rhubarb added a nice sweetness and tartness to this creation.  Definitely a winner!

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