6480 Washington Street
Yountville CA 94599
I think that Redd is the only restaurant in the area that we regularly go to and always get the tasting menu. Given the choice of a lot of one tasty thing and smaller portions of many tasty things, we'll always take the latter, and Redd has a lot of tasty things. Redd's tasting menu is easily the best bang for the buck in Napa Valley. That isn't to say that it's cheap, but the quality and presentation of the food is very high.
Redd is California cuisine with a lot of foreign influences, particularly Asian and Mexican. Most of the flavors in the dishes are on the stronger, sharper side, but they overall tend to stay away from the heavier side. You can either have the tasting menu on its own or with a wine pairing. The restaurant chooses the dishes for you and tries to make sure you're not eating the same thing as the other people at your table (within reason). So, if you're going with another person, you two will be eating different dishes as well as the different paired wines. Seeing couples feeding each other little bites, sipping out of each other's wine glass, switching plates, etc. is pretty common.
Some various dishes that we've had...
- Glazed pork belly, fig purée, burdock, soy caramel - This is probably my wife's favorite appetizer in the region. It is a heart attack on a stick, but it's a good way to die. Hefty Chinese BBQ influence. Sweet, salty, fatty, crunchy on the outside. There's a bit of burdock in there to lighten your taste buds up.
- Yellowfin tuna and hamachi tartare, avocado, chili oil, fried rice - Some folks feel like the tuna tartare is getting old because it's everywhere, but screw them. Nice sweetness, a bit of acidity, and the fried rice is really more like puffed rice which gives it a nice crunch to go along with the dish. It's nice overall, but we like the sashimi hamachi appetizer more.
- Sashimi of hamachi, sticky rice, edamame, lime ginger sauce - Nice big piece of yellowtail sashimi with a bit of salt sprinkled on top to accentuate the flavor of the fish and the acidity from the lime ginger sauce. This is our favorite raw fish dish between the two. It's crisp and sharp. (Just to show you how personally quirky wine pairings can be, we had a sweeter riesling with the tuna and hamachi tartare whereas we got a crisp chablis for the hamachi sashimi dish. They're the wine experts, but I thought they should have been reversed to help cleanse the palate between bites.)
- Petrale sole, creamy jasmine rice, mussels, chorizo, saffron curry nage - So, I really do like this dish. I love the broth, the saltiness of the chorizo, the mussells, the saffron, curry, and rice, etc. My quibble is that it overpowers the cut of the petrale sole if the sole is intended to be the centerpiece of the dish. I think the dish would be better if it were re-positioned a bit more like a paella.
- Caramelized diver scallops, cauliflower purée, almonds, balsamic reduction - This is one of our favorite entree dishes in the Valley. Sweet scallops with a crunchy, caramelized surface. The creaminess of the purée with bits of sourness from the balsamic is a wonderful sauce for the scallops. The sliced almonds are a great mix-up too.
- Braised beef shortrib, horseradish crust, potato purée, fall vegetables - Uber-tender so that you can cut it just by looking at it sternly, and a crunchy horseradish crust. I am not that big of a fan of shortrib mainly because the flavor profiles seem to be similar across restaurants, but this one was very good.
- Quail with lentils, and a small salad with a poached egg - Nicely seasoned quail with a crispy exterior sitting on a bed of a lentil emulsion. The salad with the poached egg was a nice touch to take a bit of the saltiness away (in that gooey goodness that only a poached egg can provide) from the quail if needed.
Redd's desserts tend to be on the lighter and smaller side which might disappoint some. It doesn't bother me so much as I like it as a way to finish off the meal as opposed to becoming a large part of the meal itself. I like this style of mini-desserts with their contrasting textures, temperatures, and tastes more than the big block of creme brulee or chocolate cake. YMMV.
- Sweet corn fritters, huckleberries, vanilla bean ice cream - We don't dislike this; I like the huckleberries and ice cream combo, but the corn fritters never quite fit in for me.
- Peanut butter · milk chocolate gianduja, peanut honeycomb parfait - Cold (ice cream), rich (the gianduja), and smooth (the parfait).
- Citrus tasting: meyer lemon cake, yuzu float, grapefruit s’more - Really nice way to cleanse the palate and move on past the meal. The lemon cake was fine, but the yuzu float with the grapefruit juice and the cream and the tapioca pearls at the bottom was the highlight of the dessert.
Redd setting and service
Redd skips the normally earthy, comfy look of Napa Valley and goes for a modern minimalism. There isn't much to see except for a crowd of eaters. The bar is mostly hidden in the front of the restaurant. At night, Redd is a trendy place to go, and it is usually packed. You will want to make a reservation for dinner well in advance. It seems much easier to get a lunch reservation at Redd and the two times that we've been for lunch, the place was almost empty. Just a few locals having a friendly get together or a meeting. The place would be 25%-50% full by say 1:30 p.m. I don't know if it's always like that, but there have been times where we couldn't get a nighttime reservation if we were making it the same night or the night before even during the week. So, that means at night, Redd is going to be pretty loud. It has a row of 2 seater tables at the far wall; get used to talking to your neighbors as you compare meals.
If you want a great meal but some space, go for lunch. The large windows make nice use of the sunlight. If you want the buzz of a full crowd that leans towards the younger, "we have money", or "in" crowd and want to people-watch, set up a reservation for dinner. It's not a bad place to go to play the "Who here is mostly likely having a mid-life crisis?" game.
Service overall is fine and pretty much what you expect for a tasting menu. The waiters will parade your meal out in front of you and tell you the dish, its ingredients, style, etc. for your meal and the wine for the pedigree lovers.
Price for our meal
4 course tasting menu (lunch) +wine pairing + tax + tip ($200)
7 course tasting menu (dinner) + wine pairing + tax + tip ($280)
Actually, Redd has changed up the number of courses on their tasting menu a number of times. For instance, the WineCountry review mentions 5 ($70) and 9 courses ($170), but I don't remember 9 courses. In any case, they've apparently booted the higher number course option in favor of the lower number. However, you can ask them for more courses at the start if that's what you're in the mood for.
Other Redd reviews and links
- The San Francisco Chronicle's review
- A range of TripAdvisor reviews
- A range of Yelp reviews. and also a nice gallery of photos.
- Chowhound reviews
- Fork and Bottle's review and some nice photos
- Forum thread at eGullet with some gorgeous pictures
- WineCountry.com's review
- Confessions of a restaurant whore review (ahem)