Mini-Review: Red

Terry and I went to Red last night, since he wanted to try the regular menu and not the tasting menu. Plus, as an added bonus, OpenTable offered 1000 points for going at 9 PM. Awesome. I did not take pictures because, frankly, the lighting in there sucks. Great for ambiance, bad for food bloggers.

We started with the foie, which was somehow even better than last time. In fact, it kicked Hugo’s tush when it comes to tasty foie. It was pan-seared, again, but this time served on top of a wonderfully flavored risotto cake and rhubarb and port compote. The waiter, Matt, who was excellent, friendly and well-informed, assures us that this preparation was even better than the last one, which involved dried cherry compote and plum gastrique. He was right. In fact, he was right about everything he suggested! The melting richness of the foie contrasted with the crispness of the risotto cake, and the tartness of the rhubarb. It was lovely. (Now, David Lebovitz, will I kill my blog by mentioning rhubarb?)

Terry took Matt’s suggestion and got the strip steak, rare. He loved it– it was much better than the cut of meat provided with the tasting menu. This was thick and well marbled and prepared rare, as it should be, and served on top of some very sweet roasted onions. He said it was very good, but he still prefers Jeff Ruby’s. The difference? Red’s steaks are not seasoned– beyond a bit of salt and pepper– and Ruby’s are. I think that might be the difference. We’ll obviously have to do extensive testing, in the interest of science and the public.

I got the duck breast, which was served with a very spicy lo mein and hoisin butter. Gosh, I like duck. This entree was particularly generous: two very plump duck breasts, one sliced and one practically begging to be taken home and perhaps shredded for some mu shu duck today for lunch. The lo mein was spicy, but contrasted nicely with the rich duck. This is an entree I’d definitely get again.

For dessert, I wanted some of this pepper cheesecake that Matt had talked about. It was incredibly light and fluffy, but no real hint of pepper. I was really anticipating the contrasting flavors, and was a bit disappointed– though it was a great cheesecake.

All in all, I’d recommend that, unless you’re going for a non-steak entree, go for the regular menu instead of the tasting menu. It is absolutely worth the extra money.

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