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Dec 6, 2001 09:18 AM

Redwood Park ---- Any thoughts or rumors yet?

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Supposed to be open either last night or tonight - This is the much ballyhooed new restaurant by Michael Mina with George Morrone at the burners. They put a very pretty penny into redoing the old Vertigo restaurant at the base of the Pyramid, so was hoping for some dish.

Anyone, anyone, Beuhler??

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    Alexandra Eisler

    I have a report from friends (Morrone-era Aqua regulars) who went Saturday night. Here are some of the dishes they described:

    Sea, Air and Land; thin slices of salmon and beef carpaccio with cubes of either quail or squab (My friend couldn't remember which but the "air" was tender, tender, tender and lip-smackingly delicious).

    Soups drew particular raves. The puree of chestnuts with foie gras is not to be missed. One of their group had the trio of soups with puff pastry domes; visually striking and lots of "ooooh, aaaah" yummy sounds from the lucky recipent who didn't share, so no descrition of the actual soups.

    Tuna tartare with a slice of lightly grilled tuna on top; hard to imagine an improvement on Aqua's now-signature dish, but so it was described.

    Partridge in a pear tree; succulent, whole-roasted partridge in an unusual, legs-up presentation (which may be tweaked before the opening).

    Caviar on massive potato crisp-gorgeous presentation that actually tastes as good as it looks.

    Th room itself has good ambience, not too loud but a nice party buzz. Huge framed mirror covering one wall, natural wood bar. Open, open, I'm itching to go!

    8 Replies
    1. re: Alexandra Eisler

      We are going this weekend and just recieved a fax of the menu and wine list, but it's good to hear actual reviews. Thanks!!

      1. re: srf1

        any word on prices? I assume it's multidollar but would love to hear what you've experienced

        1. re: Jill D

          OK - here is my quick synopsis:

          Room is nice, a little airy, but not nearly as elegant as I would expect, but then again, it's hard to create "intimateness" in a larger restaurant such as this. Service is still in need of fine tuning. The training was there, but it had a couple of rough edges (sat down for around 8-10 minutes before we were approached by anybody, and the rest. was pretty empty). These bugs should be ironed out. Wine list is very immense and prices are pretty competitive with other local high-end places; ie. it's expensive but you can find some very good wines.

          Food - rich, rich, rich. Morrone seems to have a heavy hand with the cream and butter, plus he seems to love his sauces (almost too much). The Roasted Chesnut and Foie Gras Soup was excellent - we split it as it was so rich that a whole serving would be too much. Great flavors though. My Quail appetizer was very good (sauce was a little heavy, but the quail itself was excellent) and came with pureed parsnips?? and foie gras. However, my wife's tableside Caesar was not at all to our liking - the romaine itself was very bitter and this overpowered the other tastes - possibly an early procurement problem?? On to the main dishes - I ordered the "George's Signature Tuna Foie Gras" (yes, more foie gras - bring it on) and it was excellent. A carryover from 5th Floor, if anything it's even better. It is very heavy, and I think if it weren't for the quality and lightness of the tuna (ie. if he used another meat), the dish would be way over the top. But it is just great. Foie gras on top of a seared tuna filet on top of a potato gratin-pancake, all with a Pinot reduction sauce. This is not your average "fish with white wine" entree. As for my wife, she tried the New Zealand Beef Tasting. A portion of ribeye and NY Strip from NZ, one in Bearnaise, the other in a red wine reduction (possibly the same as for my dish). The quality of the meat was outstanding and it was cooked perfectly, but the Bearnaise sauce was too heavy. This also came with a spinach in bacon and creme "pot" (way too rich) and duckfat fries (also over the top - we could only eat a couple and the duckfat left too strong of an oil in the mouth). So 1 hit and 1 miss. If I went back, other entrees that looked good were the Sole prepared tableside and the "Partridge on a Pear Tree" - a game hen in a pear sauce with brioche (or brochettes). Also, the poached lobster sounded good. Well, we had to try dessert and the 2 we ordered were excellent (but of course - huge). The made to order ice cream was great and the pot de creme was actually 3 different types - chocolate, cappucino and eggnog.

          All in all, it was pretty good, but for the same price ($27-39 an entree) I would prefer Masa's, Elisabeth Daniel, etc. One of my main problems is the "pregnant pause" between courses, while some consider this nice and relaxing, to me it is too long. If we had ordered the chef's tasting menu (6 courses - $100pp) it would have probably been 4-5 hours. As it stood our 2 1/2 course meal with dessert and no dawdling over coffee was a little over 3 hours.

          I would go back to the bar area though. A different menu (no reservations) and cool styling makes it a nice place to pop in although who knows how long wait times might be.

          So there's my Redwood Park mini review.

          1. re: srf1

            thanks for the mini steve; sounds good enough to keep the reservation we got on your recommendation; will post in the new year with reaction.

            1. re: kirk wallace

              pertaining to tht long review-

              parsnips=white root veretable similar in taste to carrots, and in appearance. i dont know what your "parsnips???" with the qiestion marks related to. but it can be pureed as can carrots.

              tuna foie- was also george's from aqua, pre fifth floor.

              old romaine is bitter. young romaine is sweet. and all romaine is generally bitter. couldnt read the rest but seems like you are trying to put on airs of knowing about food- kudos to you though for getting into the vibe!

              1. re: amanda

                Had New Year's eve dinner there so this is a fresh report.
                Everything just misses the mark although it seems they are trying. Fifth floor/Aqua dishes just not the same. Flavors not as rich and intense, as if a secondary was cooking. The atmosphere and architecture is open but is not cozy and rather subdued. The wait staff is cordial but unpolished, almost awkward in an ill-fitted sophistication.
                I wanted to be thrilled but was disappointed. Chef George will continue on but I wonder about the Rewood's longevity.

                1. re: amanda

                  What do you work there???


                  1. re: amanda

                    I am not sure I follow your response about parsnips and romaine. It sounds like you are the food police not the gentleman who actually dined there!

                    People often put on airs about wine though.


        2. r
          randy salenfriend

          Excellent use of the classroom scene. Not about food but had to pay you compliments since it brought a smile to my face.

          Abe Froman