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Bouchon or Redd

j
janey Mar 2, 2007 07:54 AM

I would like to take a good friend up to Napa/Yountville for her birthday and am looking for a good restaurant around Yountville. I've read a lot about Bouchon and Redd. Both sound great...does anyone have an opinion? We are looking for great food and a great wine list. Also, I heard that Redd can be quite noisy....this is a concern, because we'd also like to have a conversation while eating.

  1. r
    rollledspleen Apr 20, 2007 05:02 AM

    I agree with many, you can't go wrong. Redd is quieter (relatively speaking) than Bouchon as the tables at Bouchon on practically inches apart. I'd decide based on whether you want a refined take on french bistro classics or inventive California cuisine. Better yet, go to Bouchon for dinner, spend the night, and have Redd for lunch.

    1. v
      vinoveritas Apr 19, 2007 09:32 PM

      Redd, hands down. Some of the best food in the bay area.

      1. j
        janey Apr 12, 2007 07:53 AM

        I tried Redd last Saturday for dinner. We arrived at 5:30, pretty much when the place opened. They weren't quite ready yet, so we had a drink in the bar. They came to get us a few minutes later. Everything on the menu looked great. We ended up trying the tasting menu. All parties at the table need to do the tasting menu if you decide to go that route. It's 5 courses but they do a different item for each person. There were 2 of us, so we had 10 different items which we ended up sharing. The first course was a raw fish, one dish was tuna and the other was hamachi. Both very tasty. The 2nd course was a cooked fish, one dish was scallops and the other was a white fish. The scallops were tender and in a thick cream sauce. I though it was yummy, but my dinner partner thought the cream sauce was a bit heavy. The 3rd course was a game dish. We had squab and pork...both good. The 4th course was a meat dish, one was lamb and the other was beef. The lamb was very tender and nicely seasoned. The beef was good, but nothing really special. The last course was dessert. Both of the desserts were just okay...

        My dinner partner had the wine pairings (I don't drink) and all the wines went very well with the meal.

        The service was good...very attentive but not over bearing.

        Redd recently put in something to reduce the noise. I didn't think it was too loud and we were able to talk at a normal level even when the restaurant was full. The interior is a bit stark...it would be nice if they added some color to warm the room up, but I think they were going for the stark affect.

        I would go back again as there were a few other items on the menu I'd like to try.

        2 Replies
        1. re: janey
          Porthos Apr 12, 2007 01:12 PM

          Glad you liked Redd. I like the fact that they take the effort to offer everyone at the table a different course for the tasting menu. It shows effort and dedication. Also, like you pointed out, the wine pairing enhances the dinner significantly. The desserts with our tasting menu was just okay also. So we ordered a dessert off the regular menu for overkill. It was well worth it.

          1. re: janey
            EnderWiggin Apr 12, 2007 03:03 PM

            can you describe what they put in to reduce the noise? thanks, sounds interesting

          2. j
            janey Mar 4, 2007 07:46 AM

            Gosh, both restaurants sound great and now you've suggested a few more. I guess I'm going to have to make multiple trips up there to try them all. Thanks for all your input.

            1. Non Cognomina Mar 3, 2007 11:24 PM

              For a special dinner like a birthday, I prefer Bouchon. I like the ambiance there much better than Redd.

              The food at Redd is good, but I do not care for the dining room--too noisy and the ambiance feels rather cold. When I do go to Redd I prefer to sit in the bar area where you can order from the full menu or bar menu. I agree with EnderWiggin that the pork belly at Redd is outstanding.

              The ambiance at Bouchon is much more comfortable and intimate. Bouchon also has a very good wine list and I've found the manager and wait staff to be knowledgeable about the wine they serve.

              Wherever you decided to go, I suggest making a reservation as early as possible.

              1. e
                emmisdad Mar 3, 2007 06:21 PM

                Redd always good. Why not Ad Hoc right down the street? Thomas Keller's new restaurant. Good food and good service.

                1 Reply
                1. re: emmisdad
                  Non Cognomina Mar 3, 2007 11:27 PM

                  I love Ad Hoc--great food, good service, and I like that I never feel rushed when I go there. I rarely order wine there, though, and I've heard from several people that the wine list is less than impressive. Plus the corkage fee there is $25 (the first and last time I tried that was about 6 weeks ago).

                2. EnderWiggin Mar 3, 2007 05:25 PM

                  Can't go wrong with either...Redd has a newer and fresher vibe with a good set menu with wine pairings. They pair each dish with a wine which takes a load off if you don't know much about wine. AND THE PORK BELLY IS PRETTY DAMN GOOD

                  1. l
                    lushlulu Mar 3, 2007 01:51 PM

                    I'd go with Bouchon. Redd is just ok for me: http://tinyurl.com/244c8a

                    1. z
                      zin1953 Mar 3, 2007 12:17 PM

                      It's a toss-up; my preference is for Bouchon, but I doubt you'll go wrong either way.

                      1. s
                        seasonal Mar 3, 2007 09:49 AM

                        Redd hands down. Amazing food. In my opinion, Richard Reddington is one of the finest chefs in the Bay Area. His dishes are a wonderful balance, of classic, innovative, seasonal, and complex. The layers of flavor make it a perfect match for many types of exciting wine. Explore and indulge in their wine book.

                        As for the noise, they recently closed their doors for a couple of weeks to add sound barriers to the dining room. The addition was very successful making the dining room much more conversation friendly. Moreover, when it is noisy, it is only because they are always busy....not a common thing for napa valley restaurants in the off season.

                        1. maria lorraine Mar 2, 2007 10:36 AM

                          You can't go wrong with either Redd or Bouchon. I like the bistro-type intimacy of Bouchon,
                          but found when seated at the banquette tables against the wall, it was sometimes difficult
                          to hear my dining companion (this drives me nuts) but I could hear the folks talking on either side of me. Other tables in the restaurant are fine. I like the ones under the painting in the
                          back. Redd is bright acoustically, but I've had wonderful meals there, and have been able
                          to have good conversations.

                          I know Carrie 218 is a huge fan of Pilar but I do not care for it at all.

                          1. Porthos Mar 2, 2007 10:31 AM

                            Redd is excellent and the cuisine refreshing. It can be lively but you are able to have a conversation.

                            1. Carrie 218 Mar 2, 2007 09:30 AM

                              Pilar.

                              Okay, between the two, I'd go to Bouchon. But between the three, I'd go to Pilar first...

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