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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Review: Red

Terry and I have been trying to get to Hugo for dinner since my birthday in November. Either we've been too busy or they were out of reservations that weren't at 5:30. This past Saturday was another one of those nights. I suggested we try Red-- I've had several friends say they were the best steak in the city, so we decided to try it out.

We were a little early for our 8:00 reservation, so we sat in the bar area for a bit. The restaurant is named for the bar, which glows red and is a pretty cool effect. The restaurant is dark-- really dark. So dark I needed to use a flash, but not so dark that you can't see the person across from you. I had a glass of wine-- a pinot grigio-- and Terry had a beer. They took us in a little bit early for our reservation, which was nice .

As you walk in, you pass a really fantastic looking raw bar-- oysters, shrimp, crab, lobster, you name it-- before you hit the dining room. The thing that got me about the dining room is that sitting there, in the low level lighting, the sounds of plates and utensils and the hustle and bustle of the waitstaff is that it didn't feel like Cincinnati-- it felt more like a really hip, east coast restaurant. That's pretty unique for Cincinnati.

Now, onto the food. We decided on the Heart Healthy tasting menu-- at $35 and $50 with wine pairings, this was a steal, and part of the proceeds went to the American Heart Association. However, to start, we decided to try their foie gras (which is not terribly heart healthy). Terry has always been a big foie gras fan, and I just really discovered it when we were in Paris, so when given the opportunity here, we go for it. Red's was pan seared, with a fig crostini, dried cherry compote and a plum gastrique. Words do not adequately describe how good the foie was. It was pillowy, smooth, and velvety on the tongue, and the rich, yet fresh-tasting fruitiness of the gastrique and compote were excellent compliments to the richness of the foie.

Foie Gras-- Red

For the first course, I got the Red salad-- greens, sherry vinagrette, amaretto almonds, charred onions and a single waffle chip. The portion was petite and perfect, the vinagrette well balanced, though I couldn't find the charred onions for the life of me. Terry got the lobster bisque with sherry cream, which was rich and creamy, but, as he said, "not as good as the foie". The foie would be the gold standard by which the rest of the meal was judged.

Salad-- Red

Lobster Bisque-- Red

Our entrees came out shortly after we finished our first course-- the waitstaff had the timing down very well. My entree was salmon, served with lentils, tomatoes, and herbed cream. The portion, again, was petite but perfect (I hate overlarge portions) and the salmon was prepared medium rare, which was perfect. I really liked the lentils (and ought to cook them more often), and they were an earthy compliment to the salmon. It was, in a way, surf-and-turf, in the most literal sense.
DSCN0228

Terry ordered the ribeye, which was again, a small cut. It was prepared as he liked it (rare), and well seasoned, but he prefers the steaks at Jeff Ruby's. I pointed out that he generally orders a different cut at Ruby's, and he was thoughtful for a second. "I still prefer the steaks at Jeff Ruby's." I think it's a seasoning thing-- Ruby's are highly seasoned, which creates a crust that Red just doesn't have. I agree-- I'm a big fan of the burnt bits (though I like my steaks rare to medium rare).
DSCN0229

Now, for dessert. I ended up with the chocolate decadance cake, which is essentially a chocolate lava cake, and a glass of port (I love port!). Terry hadn't tried port, so I let this be his introduction: I had him take a bite of the chocolate decadence, then take a sip of port. He, too was converted to the delicious things that port does to chocolate... or chocolate does to port. Whatever. It's good stuff. Terry ended up with the banana bread pudding, which he really liked, though he said that the best part was how the bananas, caramel, and ice cream mixed like Bananas Foster-- the bread pudding part was negotiable.

DSCN0231

DSCN0234

All in all, a great place-- but nothing was quite as impressive as the foie gras. We may go back and do something off the regular menu to broaden our choices. This is a great place to take a date, or just go to pretend you're in a big east coast city and eating at a trendy restaurant.

5 comments:

Cin Twin1 said...

Welcome back! Good review. I had recently heard about this new heart healthy menu and wanted to check it out. Do you know how long it will be going on? I have yet to go to Red but after your review, I want to make reservations. You HAVE HAVE HAVE to go to Hugo. I ordered the duck and it was divine. I was contemplating whether it would be too rude to lick my plate! Ha, JK!! Sean Daly, the chef, came and spoke to us and inquired about our meal. That says so much when he cares enough to make the rounds during dinner.

The Phantom said...

Wonderful review...professionals should do so well!

Deirdra said...

I am so very jealous of your delectable meal.

Chris S said...

Sounds quite fabulous. I went to Red shortly after they opened, and at the time they hadn't quite got the service kinks out but it sounds like the front of the house is now cooperating with the back :)

Sadly, tis one of the few places I can think of in the city to get fois. I am also mildly suprised that I never see it sold at my favorite haunts at the market. I would have thought that Madisons would stock it from time to time (how about when they start getting their morels back, now that would be a treat) Fois is deliciously simply to cook and make wonderful things out of, its just getting ahold of some... Fois + Butter == Magic

Speaking of Port + Chocolate, I actually think that I prefer the Banyuls + Chocolate. Not quite as sweet as port, and to my palate a bit more nuanced... But port is still magic with chocolate too :)

Julie said...

Cin Twin-- Thanks! I have no idea how long it is going on! I will, however, have a review of Hugo on Monday-- we're going there this Saturday.

Phantom-- Thanks!

Deirdra-- Aw, thanks! When you come and visit, we shall go.

Chris S-- Have you tried Jungle Jim's? I so rarely get up there, but they have just about everything. I'm tempted to go up there this weekend and see. I agree with you about Banyuls vs. Port-- but it's far easier to find port on a wine list. Either way, heavenly.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Review: Red

Terry and I have been trying to get to Hugo for dinner since my birthday in November. Either we've been too busy or they were out of reservations that weren't at 5:30. This past Saturday was another one of those nights. I suggested we try Red-- I've had several friends say they were the best steak in the city, so we decided to try it out.

We were a little early for our 8:00 reservation, so we sat in the bar area for a bit. The restaurant is named for the bar, which glows red and is a pretty cool effect. The restaurant is dark-- really dark. So dark I needed to use a flash, but not so dark that you can't see the person across from you. I had a glass of wine-- a pinot grigio-- and Terry had a beer. They took us in a little bit early for our reservation, which was nice .

As you walk in, you pass a really fantastic looking raw bar-- oysters, shrimp, crab, lobster, you name it-- before you hit the dining room. The thing that got me about the dining room is that sitting there, in the low level lighting, the sounds of plates and utensils and the hustle and bustle of the waitstaff is that it didn't feel like Cincinnati-- it felt more like a really hip, east coast restaurant. That's pretty unique for Cincinnati.

Now, onto the food. We decided on the Heart Healthy tasting menu-- at $35 and $50 with wine pairings, this was a steal, and part of the proceeds went to the American Heart Association. However, to start, we decided to try their foie gras (which is not terribly heart healthy). Terry has always been a big foie gras fan, and I just really discovered it when we were in Paris, so when given the opportunity here, we go for it. Red's was pan seared, with a fig crostini, dried cherry compote and a plum gastrique. Words do not adequately describe how good the foie was. It was pillowy, smooth, and velvety on the tongue, and the rich, yet fresh-tasting fruitiness of the gastrique and compote were excellent compliments to the richness of the foie.

Foie Gras-- Red

For the first course, I got the Red salad-- greens, sherry vinagrette, amaretto almonds, charred onions and a single waffle chip. The portion was petite and perfect, the vinagrette well balanced, though I couldn't find the charred onions for the life of me. Terry got the lobster bisque with sherry cream, which was rich and creamy, but, as he said, "not as good as the foie". The foie would be the gold standard by which the rest of the meal was judged.

Salad-- Red

Lobster Bisque-- Red

Our entrees came out shortly after we finished our first course-- the waitstaff had the timing down very well. My entree was salmon, served with lentils, tomatoes, and herbed cream. The portion, again, was petite but perfect (I hate overlarge portions) and the salmon was prepared medium rare, which was perfect. I really liked the lentils (and ought to cook them more often), and they were an earthy compliment to the salmon. It was, in a way, surf-and-turf, in the most literal sense.
DSCN0228

Terry ordered the ribeye, which was again, a small cut. It was prepared as he liked it (rare), and well seasoned, but he prefers the steaks at Jeff Ruby's. I pointed out that he generally orders a different cut at Ruby's, and he was thoughtful for a second. "I still prefer the steaks at Jeff Ruby's." I think it's a seasoning thing-- Ruby's are highly seasoned, which creates a crust that Red just doesn't have. I agree-- I'm a big fan of the burnt bits (though I like my steaks rare to medium rare).
DSCN0229

Now, for dessert. I ended up with the chocolate decadance cake, which is essentially a chocolate lava cake, and a glass of port (I love port!). Terry hadn't tried port, so I let this be his introduction: I had him take a bite of the chocolate decadence, then take a sip of port. He, too was converted to the delicious things that port does to chocolate... or chocolate does to port. Whatever. It's good stuff. Terry ended up with the banana bread pudding, which he really liked, though he said that the best part was how the bananas, caramel, and ice cream mixed like Bananas Foster-- the bread pudding part was negotiable.

DSCN0231

DSCN0234

All in all, a great place-- but nothing was quite as impressive as the foie gras. We may go back and do something off the regular menu to broaden our choices. This is a great place to take a date, or just go to pretend you're in a big east coast city and eating at a trendy restaurant.

5 comments:

Cin Twin1 said...

Welcome back! Good review. I had recently heard about this new heart healthy menu and wanted to check it out. Do you know how long it will be going on? I have yet to go to Red but after your review, I want to make reservations. You HAVE HAVE HAVE to go to Hugo. I ordered the duck and it was divine. I was contemplating whether it would be too rude to lick my plate! Ha, JK!! Sean Daly, the chef, came and spoke to us and inquired about our meal. That says so much when he cares enough to make the rounds during dinner.

The Phantom said...

Wonderful review...professionals should do so well!

Deirdra said...

I am so very jealous of your delectable meal.

Chris S said...

Sounds quite fabulous. I went to Red shortly after they opened, and at the time they hadn't quite got the service kinks out but it sounds like the front of the house is now cooperating with the back :)

Sadly, tis one of the few places I can think of in the city to get fois. I am also mildly suprised that I never see it sold at my favorite haunts at the market. I would have thought that Madisons would stock it from time to time (how about when they start getting their morels back, now that would be a treat) Fois is deliciously simply to cook and make wonderful things out of, its just getting ahold of some... Fois + Butter == Magic

Speaking of Port + Chocolate, I actually think that I prefer the Banyuls + Chocolate. Not quite as sweet as port, and to my palate a bit more nuanced... But port is still magic with chocolate too :)

Julie said...

Cin Twin-- Thanks! I have no idea how long it is going on! I will, however, have a review of Hugo on Monday-- we're going there this Saturday.

Phantom-- Thanks!

Deirdra-- Aw, thanks! When you come and visit, we shall go.

Chris S-- Have you tried Jungle Jim's? I so rarely get up there, but they have just about everything. I'm tempted to go up there this weekend and see. I agree with you about Banyuls vs. Port-- but it's far easier to find port on a wine list. Either way, heavenly.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Review: Red

Terry and I have been trying to get to Hugo for dinner since my birthday in November. Either we've been too busy or they were out of reservations that weren't at 5:30. This past Saturday was another one of those nights. I suggested we try Red-- I've had several friends say they were the best steak in the city, so we decided to try it out.

We were a little early for our 8:00 reservation, so we sat in the bar area for a bit. The restaurant is named for the bar, which glows red and is a pretty cool effect. The restaurant is dark-- really dark. So dark I needed to use a flash, but not so dark that you can't see the person across from you. I had a glass of wine-- a pinot grigio-- and Terry had a beer. They took us in a little bit early for our reservation, which was nice .

As you walk in, you pass a really fantastic looking raw bar-- oysters, shrimp, crab, lobster, you name it-- before you hit the dining room. The thing that got me about the dining room is that sitting there, in the low level lighting, the sounds of plates and utensils and the hustle and bustle of the waitstaff is that it didn't feel like Cincinnati-- it felt more like a really hip, east coast restaurant. That's pretty unique for Cincinnati.

Now, onto the food. We decided on the Heart Healthy tasting menu-- at $35 and $50 with wine pairings, this was a steal, and part of the proceeds went to the American Heart Association. However, to start, we decided to try their foie gras (which is not terribly heart healthy). Terry has always been a big foie gras fan, and I just really discovered it when we were in Paris, so when given the opportunity here, we go for it. Red's was pan seared, with a fig crostini, dried cherry compote and a plum gastrique. Words do not adequately describe how good the foie was. It was pillowy, smooth, and velvety on the tongue, and the rich, yet fresh-tasting fruitiness of the gastrique and compote were excellent compliments to the richness of the foie.

Foie Gras-- Red

For the first course, I got the Red salad-- greens, sherry vinagrette, amaretto almonds, charred onions and a single waffle chip. The portion was petite and perfect, the vinagrette well balanced, though I couldn't find the charred onions for the life of me. Terry got the lobster bisque with sherry cream, which was rich and creamy, but, as he said, "not as good as the foie". The foie would be the gold standard by which the rest of the meal was judged.

Salad-- Red

Lobster Bisque-- Red

Our entrees came out shortly after we finished our first course-- the waitstaff had the timing down very well. My entree was salmon, served with lentils, tomatoes, and herbed cream. The portion, again, was petite but perfect (I hate overlarge portions) and the salmon was prepared medium rare, which was perfect. I really liked the lentils (and ought to cook them more often), and they were an earthy compliment to the salmon. It was, in a way, surf-and-turf, in the most literal sense.
DSCN0228

Terry ordered the ribeye, which was again, a small cut. It was prepared as he liked it (rare), and well seasoned, but he prefers the steaks at Jeff Ruby's. I pointed out that he generally orders a different cut at Ruby's, and he was thoughtful for a second. "I still prefer the steaks at Jeff Ruby's." I think it's a seasoning thing-- Ruby's are highly seasoned, which creates a crust that Red just doesn't have. I agree-- I'm a big fan of the burnt bits (though I like my steaks rare to medium rare).
DSCN0229

Now, for dessert. I ended up with the chocolate decadance cake, which is essentially a chocolate lava cake, and a glass of port (I love port!). Terry hadn't tried port, so I let this be his introduction: I had him take a bite of the chocolate decadence, then take a sip of port. He, too was converted to the delicious things that port does to chocolate... or chocolate does to port. Whatever. It's good stuff. Terry ended up with the banana bread pudding, which he really liked, though he said that the best part was how the bananas, caramel, and ice cream mixed like Bananas Foster-- the bread pudding part was negotiable.

DSCN0231

DSCN0234

All in all, a great place-- but nothing was quite as impressive as the foie gras. We may go back and do something off the regular menu to broaden our choices. This is a great place to take a date, or just go to pretend you're in a big east coast city and eating at a trendy restaurant.

5 comments:

Cin Twin1 said...

Welcome back! Good review. I had recently heard about this new heart healthy menu and wanted to check it out. Do you know how long it will be going on? I have yet to go to Red but after your review, I want to make reservations. You HAVE HAVE HAVE to go to Hugo. I ordered the duck and it was divine. I was contemplating whether it would be too rude to lick my plate! Ha, JK!! Sean Daly, the chef, came and spoke to us and inquired about our meal. That says so much when he cares enough to make the rounds during dinner.

The Phantom said...

Wonderful review...professionals should do so well!

Deirdra said...

I am so very jealous of your delectable meal.

Chris S said...

Sounds quite fabulous. I went to Red shortly after they opened, and at the time they hadn't quite got the service kinks out but it sounds like the front of the house is now cooperating with the back :)

Sadly, tis one of the few places I can think of in the city to get fois. I am also mildly suprised that I never see it sold at my favorite haunts at the market. I would have thought that Madisons would stock it from time to time (how about when they start getting their morels back, now that would be a treat) Fois is deliciously simply to cook and make wonderful things out of, its just getting ahold of some... Fois + Butter == Magic

Speaking of Port + Chocolate, I actually think that I prefer the Banyuls + Chocolate. Not quite as sweet as port, and to my palate a bit more nuanced... But port is still magic with chocolate too :)

Julie said...

Cin Twin-- Thanks! I have no idea how long it is going on! I will, however, have a review of Hugo on Monday-- we're going there this Saturday.

Phantom-- Thanks!

Deirdra-- Aw, thanks! When you come and visit, we shall go.

Chris S-- Have you tried Jungle Jim's? I so rarely get up there, but they have just about everything. I'm tempted to go up there this weekend and see. I agree with you about Banyuls vs. Port-- but it's far easier to find port on a wine list. Either way, heavenly.