Redd (Yountville, CA) – Editors Please Apply

I had a reservation for Redd this afternoon and jetted up there. The meal was good, perfectly nice on the patio on a sunny day, but i don’t think the restaurant warrants the accolades it has received (SFGate gives it 3.5 stars.)

A good meal that i’d put on par w/ Cyrus (obviously, different types of food.) The dishes were busy on the whole and lacked a focus – there was no purity of flavor.

Although their menu is far more limited, i’d say Bar Crudo in SF is just as good; but the surroundings @ Redd are nicer.

In short, it’s about what i expected and I’ll probably go again at some point in the future since it’s a nice-enough place to have lunch in the sun.

1. Yellowfin Tuna & Hamachi Tartar w/ Honey Mustard Dressing, Avocado, & Fried Rice
The fish was of high quality but this dish suffered from too much. The dressing gave it a necessary spice but its sweetness was cloying. While the rice-krispie rice is interesting, it doesn’t add anything to the dish (maybe texture, but wasn’t working for me.) Good.

2. Caramelized Diver Scallops w/ Carmelized Cauliflower, Cauliflower Puree, Balsamic, Almonds, Raisins, & Capers
Nice scallops that were cooked nicely. The capers & balsamic gave the dish its bite; and a necessary bite considering the blandness of the ubiquitous puree. Again, a lot of stuff going on here. Good.

3. Petrale Sole w/ Mussels, Chorizio, Potato Puree in a Curry Nage
Very tasty (it’s got chorizio & curry) but conceptually flawed – the nage overpowered the (overcooked) fish. Again, everything is placed on a lifeless puree for some reason. Good.

4. Black Bass w/ Fennel Puree, Caramel Soy, Burdock, & Pork Belly
The fish was slightly overcooked but its skin was perfectly crispy & delicious. The pork belly wasn’t too fatty and tasted like great bacon. Fennel puree – why? It might drift a little close to the ubiquitous asian fusion in this area, but it was my favorite dish of the afternoon. Good (Very Good if fish was cooked correctly.)

5. Halibut Saltimbocca w/ Parmesan Foam
Tasty fish cooked nicely wrapped in prosciutto in a bed of everything that must have been left over in the kitchen. A very safe dish. Ok.

6. House-made Linguini w/ Veal Meatballs & Veal Jus
Overkill @ this point in the meal. The pasta was delicate but maybe overcooked – very mushy. Meatballs were tasteless. I asked for all fish & one meat course – i was hoping for a tiny piece of meat.

7. Semifreddo w/ Melon Sorbet & Tequila Granita
It was getting a touch hot outside and this was a great end to the meal. Everything blended together & complemented each other. Very Good.

In summary, a little too much fussiness for me. Their fish is of good quality but they mar it by doing too much at once. The chef needs an editor – pare down the food to its more essential flavors. The restaurant is over-hyped for this caliber of food – I don’t think it even warrants 1 Michelin star. It will be interesting to see if Michelin gives it 1 star when they release their SF dining guide.

- chuck