When we hit Napa Valley, or plan was pretty simple…drink great wine, eat delicious food. For the first night, our plan was to hit the Rutherford Grill which had received lots of positive reviews and was recommended to us. But when we went to look, we found out it was owned by a larger chain that also owns Houston’s. And while it was probably delicious, we decided to look for something else. After reviewing a few places, the winner was Redd; a French inspired, local and seasonal based contemporary restaurant by award winner Richard Reddington. Unfortunately we made this decision the day of, which meant there were no tables available.
Our disappointment quickly turned to excitement as we found a table on the patio at the more relaxed, Italian-inspired Redd Wood just down the street. And disappointment turned to excitement when Ashley looked at the drink menu and saw pizza and her favorite beer in the whole world, Allagash White…a Belgian inspired white ale from the Northeast.
Before diving into the pizza, we decided to get our veggie fix. The first dish to hit the table was a chilled corn soup. The first bite exploded with the flavor of fresh, local sweet corn. It was, as you would expect, sweet. There was a slight bit of acidity from the garden fresh tomatoes and then a little herbaceous finish from the basil oil. It was smooth and light and a perfect way to start the night.
After the soup, our attention turns to the plate of vegetables that had arrived. Colorful, seasonal root vegetables had been shredded and piled on the plate; yellows and greens of squashes, oranges of the carrots, reds of the tomatoes and whites and pinks of the radishes. The whole pile was topped with house-made green goddess dressing that added a creamy, herby blast to each fresh and crunchy bite.
Finally satisfying our vegetable fix, we turned to the star of the show…the pizza. Bright and vibrant tomato sauce covered the cracker thin crust. The fresh arugula offered slight peppery bite, and the calamari that was put on the pizza just before it hit the oven, was tender and delicious. A simple garlic aoli added a little creaminess in the place of cheese, and a little bite from the roasted garlic that rounded out the pizza. When you got a bite that had a little of everything…the crunch of the crust, sweetness of the tomato, pepperiness of the arugula and the creamy finish of the aoli…you got a perfect mouthful.
Redd Wood wasn’t even on the radar when we started the trip, but it ended up being the perfect place for the evening. The food was excellent. It inspired us to go home and try our own corn soup (not quite as good, but something that I’ll do again). The ambiance was perfect. Cool night, beautiful setting, excellent company. And it really set the tone for what would be an amazing time in Napa.