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Redd Restaurant – Yountville, CA

Redd Restaurant

Four Courses in Bliss

By Heather Irwin


I hadn't planned on staying long: a glass of wine, perhaps and a fritto misto and back to work in a respectable forty-five minutes or so. This was, after all, a Tuesday and not a time for dawdling over the menu. Or so I told myself . . . two hours ago.

Sometimes the best laid plans for efficiency need to be thrown out the window and patiently ignored. Life is short––too short for wolfing down a turkey sandwich in the car while checking your phone messages. Crumbs on the carseat and a closet full of mayo-stained shirts speak volumes about the need to slow down and smell the foie gras every once in a while. And Redd, which opened in November, turned out to be just the place to do it.

Chef Richard Reddington, formerly of the nearby Auberge du Soleil and Masa's in San Francisco, recently revamped the former Piatti Restaurant in Yountville as his own. With clean lines, bright natural light and little on the walls as competition, it's a zen–like retreat made for gustatory contemplation. Each course glitters and shines against stark white large, oversized plates while oversized silverware, though a bit awkward in the hand, makes the diner feel almost child–like in scale. Go with it and allow yourself to oooh and ahhhh in wonderment and purposely forget about grown-up things like, say, going back to work.

Redd's Tuna TartareWhich brings me back to the two hour lunch: unable to pick just one dish on the menu, I decided to try a tasting menu of four chef-selected items. The restaurant also offers a 7–course tasting menu, but frankly, that just seemed a little over the top—at least for a Tuesday. At the whim of the kitchen, I was ready to embark.

Reddington is known around these parts as a talented young chef with a strong background in classic French cuisine. At Redd, he breaks free from the constraints of heavy sauces and a menu dictated by either other chefs or long-time diners and explores a sort of fusion cooking that brings in ideas from Asian, Californian and Italian cooking.

Even complicated dishes feel clean and simple, rather than the complicated everything—but—the— kitchen—sink entrees that confuse and confound diners before they've even raised a fork.

Take, for example, my first course: a marinated strip of raw yellowfin tuna with slices of beets and radish dressed with lemon oil, salt, pepper and microscopic croutons. Elegant, but exceedingly simple.

Among the other courses: butternut squash ravioli with a ragout of autumn vegetables tucked neatly under a blanket of parmesan; braised shortribs with a horseradish crust and bordelaise. And for dessert, a honey pear napoleon with warm diced pears, ricotta cream and pear pastis sorbet. Each just as perfect and beautiful in presentation, that I was literally clapping my hands in glee at each course.

Two hours of bliss. Well spent, I'd say. Work can wait when there's lunch to be eaten in Yountville.

Redd Restaurant, 6480 Washington St., Yountville, 707/944.2222.

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