Sunday, October 31, 2010

Redd in Yountville

The red carpet was rolled out in November 2005 for Redd in Yountville, in the heart of the Napa Valley. It is the initial venture from celebrated chef Richard Reddington whose resume includes Masa’s, Jardiniere and Auberge du Soleil. The space is polished, modern yet unpretentious and extremely approachable. From the mahogany floors to the Danish influenced furniture, the light and airy ambiance is a welcome addition to the growing list of restaurants in Yountville. Redd’s neighbors include – Thomas Keller’s Bouchon and Ad Hoc along with Michelin star recipient Bistro Jeanty.

Richard Reddington whose name sake is embedded for this distinctive dining destination was named “Rising Star” by The San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer. Reddington did not receive traditional culinary training but rather came up through the ranks through hands on experience in France, New York, Beverly Hills and San Francisco. His classic French training was from hours upon hours of hands on learning. His philosophy for food is derived from a global view with a variety of ethnic influences collected from his long gourmand voyage.

Previously the home of Piatti, acclaimed New York architect Asfour Guzy transformed this space to a contemporary yet classic wine country destination. The ninety seat restaurant is divided into a main dining room, bar area, semi-private dining area and an outdoor courtyard which is shaded by gorgeous olive trees. Once you walk into this spectacular space your eye is quickly drawn to the expansive windows that assist in highlighting the mahogany wood floors and stark white table clothes.

With my love for dining out, I created restaurant club along with two other long time friends. It was my turn to choose. Quite frankly I am a bit obsessed with Yountville in the gorgeous Napa Valley. The town's name is derived from the name of early pioneer George Calvert Yount. Yount was considered responsible for establishing the first vineyard in the Napa Valley. New restaurants with well known chefs abound in this quaint town and it has such a wine country vibe.

I arrived first for our 11:30 reservation. I highly recommend making reservations at any well-known restaurant and 11:30 seems to be the key time for a Saturday lunch. Since arriving early, I was able to choose a remarkable table by the window and with a spectacular view of the entire restaurant. Once my two dining companions arrived, we had the opportunity to catch up and order a glass of wine. We selected a 2009 Palmina “Larner Vineyard” Malvasia Bianco from Santa Ynez Valley. It is a Italian varietal which thrives with warm sunny days and crisp evenings. The breathtaking nose of this wine is perfumed with jasmine, lemon blossom and honeysuckle aromas. After taking the first sip, this dry wine had hints of grapefruit, apricot, peach and lychee. The finish was filled with honey, floral and a crisp minerality.

Our visit to Redd was in late September and heirloom tomatoes were plentiful. We took advantage of the season and order three tomato specials to share. We have found that sharing multiple dishes embodies a richer food experience. We began with the Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Dungeness Crab and Avocado. This chilled soup was not pureed like baby food but rather has small bits of ripe heirloom tomatoes and the sweet crab accented the slight spice flavor in the soup. It was truly heaven in a bowl.

Both Lynette and I had the gazpacho while Brenley enjoyed the Corn Soup with Smoked Salmon Panini. One bite of soup transported me to a corn field in the mid west. The corn flavor was completely apparent and with a touch of cream it was a perfect spoonful of corn perfection. Unfortunately I am not a smoked salmon fan, otherwise I would have enjoyed the tea sandwich style panini. The service levels at Redd were outstanding – starting from the hostess who greets you to the “army” of waiters who serve everyone at the table at the same time. Impressive! Bravo Redd!

We continued with the tomato theme and enjoyed a Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad. There was a subtle yet distinct sherry vinegar flavor in the light dressing which made this one of my favorite dishes of the day. The peppery arugula, cucumbers, crunchy rustic croutons and freshly grated parmesan cheese brought this masterpiece into perfect harmony. Along side was an array of freshly sliced heirloom tomatoes with lightly dressed arugula and aged balsamic vinegar. To accompany this late summer delight was a thick toasted crostini and topped with fresh, creamy burrata cheese. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream.

Reddington’s influence of Asian cuisine was quite apparent in the next two dishes we selected. First we enjoyed his version of Lettuce Cups with Stir Fried Chicken, Eggplant and Scallions. There was a distinct spiciness to the dish along with the crunch and a bit of sweetness. Overall the flavors blended well and each bite was enjoyable. From prior research, the glazed pork belly, apple puree, burdock and soy caramel was a crowd pleaser.

Along with the pork belly, the Steamed Pork Buns, Hoisen and Vegetable Salad received high marks from diners. When it arrived, the seasoned pork did not sit inside the traditional bun but rather on a fluffy handmade asian bun. Each bite of pork was tender yet had bits of crispy caramelized hoisen sauce on the corners. Truly a sensational dish that left you wanting more.

With quickly expanding stomachs, we ventured to experience our last dish during our lunch. We selected the Braised Beef Shortrib, Bacon, Cipollini Onions, Fingerling Potatoes with Red Wine Jus. Any time braised shortribs are on a menu, this is a must order. No need for a knife, these shortribs barely needed a fork to cut them apart. The potatoes were roasted to perfection with a slight crisp crust and tender inside that screamed ultimate starch. The bacon and cipollini onions were a perfect compliment to this divine dish and the icing on the cake was the aromatic and rich jus.

You are probably thinking how do they have room for dessert? Actually we contemplated the same idea, however, we managed to share on dessert. After careful consideration and some debate over all of the wonderful choices, we decided on the Dark Chocolate Pot de Crème, Beurre Noisette with Warm Beignets. I think the beignets were the clincher for me. Nicole Plue is the pastry chef and is on the road to becoming one of California’s premier pastry chefs. Plue was recognized by San Francisco magazine as Pastry Chef of the year and a ‘Rising Star’ by the San Francisco Chronicle.

With satisfied palates, we wrapped up our wonderful lunch and said our goodbyes until the next restaurant club adventure is scheduled. The question is, where do we go next? Any ideas on great restaurants in the Bay Area, I would love to hear about them.

6480 Washington St
Yountville, CA 94599-1294


  1. That's one awesome meal!! I love love love Napa...especially Yountville. Hoping to make it back to visit my uncle in Walnut Creek next year, and Redd is now on my "need to visit" list!! We ate at ad hoc for our special meal on our last trip. Have you eaten at Gary Danko yet? It's one of my favorite restaurant experiences of all time!

  2. Well written, Lisa. You've got me craving a visit to Yountville. It's been quite a while. Hmm, maybe it could be a girls/foodie trip down the road. That would be fun!

  3. If you plan a girls foodie trip to Yountville - I'll fly up from OC ;) Everything looks fantastic, but I was especially drawn to the pillowy steamed pork bunsI I should be editing the photos from my trip, but trying to catch up on all the delicious posts that I've missed the past two weeks!

  4. I am so jealous of the places you have access to! Everything looks fantastic and the Malvasia (wine) sounds good enough to look for.


  5. oh my gosh, the pork on those asian buns looks INCREDIBLE!

  6. I, too, adore Yountville. You do a great job with reviews! It looks like you guys had a memorable lunch. Love the wine, gazpacho, and corn soup. Will have to check out this place next time I'm up that way. Thanks for sharing.

  7. You read my mind Lisa when I saw the dessert photos, oh well, you may as well enjoy the entire menu and those desserts as well as everything else look scrumptious;)

  8. This meal looks amazing! I have been wanting to visit the Bay are since moving out west (Phoenix), but it's still on the to-do list. When we've saved up a little extra money to make the trip, this is definitely a restaurant I'd want to eat at!


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