Redd Wood in Yountville
6755 WASHINGTON ST. YOUNTVILLE | (707) 299-5030 | http://www.redd-wood.com
Open Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. • Friday – Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
By John and Dorothy Salmon
Richard Reddington has created another new hangout in Yountville, one with an Italian flair and GREAT food. Located at the north end of town across from Jessup Cellars’ great wine tasting room, Redd Wood has both indoor and outdoor seating. Luckily, when we were there, the weather was perfect, with a slight breeze. We sat outside for lunch with Peter and Nancy Gennet. It was fun catching up with them, laughing about our lives, our kids and grandchildren and the on-going transitions of life.
Redd Wood was packed when the doors opened and when you talk about doors, this place has a BIG one that easily slides open to bring the outside in, or close the outside out. The décor is very classy, with one of the most unique light fixtures any of us had ever seen. It is created out of about 10 old, long, worn out florescent light bulbs tied together with black plugs on top, and held up with wires that make it look like it belongs in a warehouse or in a back alley, but it’s very hip in this setting. There is the “Wappo Hill” emblazoned mailbox at the center of the custom-fabricated wine wall of cut metal tubing that pays homage to the Mondavi family and illustrates Redd Wood’s wine country roots. There’s another wall that is filled with magazine covers, photos and everything Napa Valley. St. Helena interior designer, Erin Martin, REALLY made Redd Wood fun, funky and elegant.
Redd Wood is one of the more sophisticated pizzerias we have ever enjoyed. We don’t know many pizzerias that come with a Michelin-starred chef, such as Richard Reddington. Once you have lunch or dinner at Redd Wood, you will want to go back several times because the menu changes. You can always count on the wood-burning, oven-baked pizza, the house-made pastas, the in-house made, incredible prosciutto and salumi, and a really interesting wine list. In the spring, summer and fall you can sit outside and bask in the sunshine, watch the birds, and pretend that you are in Italy.
On the day that we had lunch with Peter and Nancy, we had fun watching two cute dogs beg for the primary petting position from two young boys, while the boys’ parents relaxed with a glass of wine. Redd Wood is a VERY comfortable setting for everyone, even an occasional dog. Sarah was our server and Dorothy started out with a No Yo Manhattan, made with Makers Mark, punt e mes and dried Tuscan cherries ($9) and Nancy tried the Italian Greyhound made with vodka, Campari, grapefruit juice and a lime wheel ($9). Peter and John had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc Lewis Cellars 2010.
For starters we ordered the (Fabulous) Frito Misto with calamari, gulf shrimp, fennel, Meyer lemon aioli ($14). Nancy ordered the bucatini pasta with tomato, guanciale, and black pepper ($14); Peter enjoyed the tomato pie (Pizza) with fresh mozzarella and basil ($14); John returned to his Chicago roots once again and went for the Meatball sub sandwich with tomato sauce, and caciocavallo ($14); and Dorothy tried the Lardo, mushroom and spinach fontina meat pie ($14). Never able to miss dessert, we shared the amazing chocolate caramel tart, with hazelnuts and salt ($9); the equally good butterscotch semifreddo with caramel corn, bourbon sauce ($9) and the incredible toffee cannoli with ricotta and almonds ($8). It goes without saying that we truly enjoy our job with the Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine!
Richard Reddington, Executive Chef and Owner of Redd and Redd Wood, is a native of New York who has made an indelible mark on the West Coast dining landscape. His first restaurant, Redd in Yountville, CA, opened in 2005 and has since garnered a Michelin star for five consecutive years. He began his career working for Roland Passot at San Francisco’s renowned La Folie in 1990, later moving to Postrio before heading east to David Burke’s Park Avenue Café in New York City. A stint at Rubicon in San Francisco was followed by a French sojourn at the Michelin, three-star Arpege and Le Moulin de Mougins with Roger Vergé, a prelude to working with Daniel Boulud at Restaurant Daniel in New York.
Returning to California, Richard helped open Spago Beverly Hills as Sous Chef, before taking the Chef reins at Jardinière in San Francisco and then Chapeau, where he was named ‘Rising Star’ by The San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer. In 2000, he was drawn north to Napa Valley and he began a four-year tenure as Executive Chef at the landmark Auberge du Soleil. There, he captured attention when he was voted ‘Best Rising Chef’ by San Francisco Magazine. After leaving Auberge in 2004, he took the reins at Masa’s in San Francisco, before taking the leap to own his own restaurant. Richard Reddington has created a really wonderful setting at Redd Wood with great food and wine. What’s not to like?
Redd Wood is located in the North Block Hotel, on Washington Street, between Burgundy Way and Madison Street, in Yountville. Tables can be reserved online and you better do that quickly, because on weekends, the place is packed.
~ Chocolate Praline Caramel Tart ~
1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¾ cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ tspn salt
2 egg yolks at room temperature
1 cup of blanched raw almonds
1 Cup of Sugar
1½ cups of sugar
4 TBsp light corn syrup
½ ts salt
6 TBsp unsalted butter
6 TBsp heavy cream
2 TBsp cream fraiche
½ cup heavy cream
¾ cup semi sweet chocolate chopped
Start with the tart shell: Heat oven to 350 F.
In a mixer combine butter and sugar and cream until mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the yolks and continue to mix till eggs are incorporated and smooth
Combine flour, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl and mix into the wet mixture.
Transfer into a 9’ fluted tart pan that has a removable bottom. Press the dough into the pan as evenly as possible. Refrigerate for 1hr. Prick the tart shell with a fork all over the bottom and along the sides. Bake for about 20 mins. The tart may seem soft but allow it to cool and it will harden.
Make the caramel: in a large saucepan put sugar, corn syrup and salt with 6 tbsp of water. The water is added to make sure the sugar caramelizes evenly. The sugar should look like wet sand. Bring to a boil and cook without stirring till a candy thermometer reaches 340 F. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, cream and cream fraiche. The mixture will bubble up so it is important to use a tall saucepan.set aside to cool.
Make the praline: place sugar and ¼ cup of water in a pot and cook till 235 F On medium heat, add the almonds and stir constantly till the almond are coated in the sugar and are golden brown. This will take about 10 minutes and you should never walk away from the pot.
Transfer the nuts to a greased pan and let cool. Once cool, put the nuts into a food processor and blend till the consistency of chunky peanut butter.
Using a small butter knife,spread, the praline evenly and as thin as possible onto the bottom of the baked tart shell. Place in the freezer and allow it to chill for 20 minutes.(do not skip this step orelse the praline and caramel will mix together.) Pour the caramel on top of the praline layer and smooth out the top. Set aside.
Make the ganache: bring the cream to a simmer and pour over the chocolate in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the cream and chocolate sit for 1 minute. Slowly stir with a rubber spatula from the center out until the chocolate and cream are completely emulsified. Pour ganache evenly over the tart and refrigerate until set for 2 hours. Sprinkle with sea salt and indulge yourself.