Nice meal at Red White and Bluezz in Pasadena
A bit delayed in this review, but I felt my visit to Red White and Bluezz in Pasadena merited some kind of write up.
It was Monday, Sept. 1, which was Labor Day. I have all kinds of restaurant phobias, and one of them is eating on the third day of a three-day weekend! That being said, I had a few things to celebrate on that particular Monday and I was looking for just the right setting. I wanted casual, but with good/interesting food.
Lou would probably have been my first choice (it usually is!) but it was closed this particular Monday. After perusing Opentable.com, I checked out the menu at Red White and Bluezz and decided to take the plunge.
Last minute reservations were not a problem and parking was easy in the garage across the street (not validated, but it was cheap, so that's fine.)
I like the room; it's long with some high tables near the bar and plenty of tables along the windows down Green Street. We were seated just around a partition from the music, so we were treated to wonderful bossa nova sounds, but the sound was baffled just enough.
We started with the heirloom tomato Caprese. I wanted the Iceberg Cobb Wedge from the online menu, but they were instead offering some other kind of Wedge salad that didn't appeal. The tomatoes were lovely, a mix of green, red, and yellow. The mozzarella was just fine; I always think it's the tomatoes that make this dish anyway. At $15, it's not cheap, but I felt the quality ingredients made it worthwhile.
For mains, my dining partner had the Kobe burger with fries. It was a monster of a burger, cooked to his liking. I couldn't resist the mound of garlic fries and they were unbelievably good. Shoestring cut, with herbs and garlic infusing every bite. Not greasy, but with a warm, almost Smokey taste (I'm assuming this was from roasted garlic.) I loved these fries and could see myself sitting at the bar with a nice pour of beer and just a basket of taters!
I ordered the Kurobuta Pork Ribeye Chop. I was taken aback when the server asked how I wanted that cooked. Um, pork? I want it cooked through please! Call me a heathen, but medium rare pork will NEVER be edible to me. She clarified that they use such high quality pork; customers can be free to order it less well done. I emphasized that I wanted it cooked through as much as possible, but I also defer to the chef's tastes. Hopefully there's a middle ground in there.
The chop arrived, and it was MASSIVE. At least 2 inches thick with beautifully caramelized fatty edges. Very tender, the knife sliced through it like butter. It was served on something called "blueberry bread pudding" and since I like a little sweet with my pork, this was intriguing. I didn't detect any blueberries, actually, but there were pillowy cubes of lightly egg-soaked bread, with just the lightest, sweetest hint of vanilla. It was sort of like stuffing, but with a vanilla edge. I found it a little odd, but compelling, and it was a great vehicle to sop up the Port wine demi-glace with. As predicted, the chop was a bit too raw towards the middle, although it was certainly a nice temperature all the way through. Since it was far too large for me to eat anyway, I just ate around the edges and was more than satisfied. My taste of a lesser-cooked portion confirmed that it's just not to my liking, but there was absolutely no "gamey" quality to it and I'm sure it was fine to eat.
We each ordered a wine flight, and as a poster noted a while back, the small glasses they use do make it difficult to get your nose in there, but that was fine, I don't follow all the rules in tasting wine anyway. I didn't find the place mat detailing the wines to be patronizing, I don't have a mind for these kinds of things so it helped me keep track. I'm sure they would gladly skip the place mat if you were offended.
All in all, I enjoyed the meal very much. All the plates I saw in passing were piled high with food, so size of portion was not an issue.
The total for two, with two caprese salads, two wine flights, two entrees, and a share dessert came to about $135. It wasn't cheap, but it was a lot of food and we were both satisfied with the experience.
Red White and Bluezz is at 70 S. Raymond in Old Town Pasadena
Lou is a "small plates" restaurant on Vine, I think I linked it correctly to this post.
The music on Monday night was really lovely. Gentle bossa nova with a female vocalist and an acoustic guitar. It was amplified no more than regular music in a restaurant. There is an actual Jazz club side to the place, I haven't tried that yet. I would imagine it is louder in there.
Lou on Vine
724 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Went last night and was impressed. Much to my amazement, this is one of the best restaurants in Pasadena at the moment.
First, the music is actually a plus. Subdued, relaxed jazz is a great accompaniment to dining. You can listen seriously if you want or you can safely ignore it and still hold a conversation with your tablemates without raising your voice.
Service is fine and reasonably knowlegable.
Wines are thoughtful, reasonably (not cheaply) priced, with a great by the glass selection, many tasting flights, and freely offered gratis tastes.
Charcuterie/fromage plates are great. You can choose among several meats, including Spanish and Italian delicacies, plus probably 20 cheeses for ~$15 for any three. Other apps are fine but less unusual.
Got the venison - extraordinarily tender slices bursting with flavor that puts steak to shame; sauce had great depth to match the meat, with deep wine reduction plus maple plus currants. Amazing match with a good Syrah.
Chicken is ok. Vanilla sauce was unusual, but who orders chicken at a place like this?
Steaks are fine. Pork chop is truly huge and tender with, as noted, a pink center. Trichinosis is said to not be a problem at this time in this country...
No room for dessert.
Ran about $65 apiece, with two glasses of wine and two courses each. Beats most of our recent dining adventures in Pasadena, including recent trips to Bistro 45, Maison Akira, and Derek's. Madeleine's is probably a little better, but if you like soft music this is the place.
I've been a fan of RW+B for a long time, and it's become a go-to place for my Pasadena-based friends. The cheese flights are actually more fun for me than wine flights, since I know what wine I like pretty well, but I'm not too well versed in cheese.
It also gets my vote for best mac and cheese.
Went there for the first time last night. We went to the restaurant in the front first and we were wondering where the live music was. We were told to head around the corner. The venue is great. We sat right near the band and they were great. Not too loud either.
Food was great as well. We ordered the cheese and charcuterie plate and the waiter was very helpful with suggesting decent pairings with our wine flights. The cheese plate was so huge we decided to split a kobe burger. It was also huge but excellent. They had switched out the garlic fries for sweet potato fries on the menu, but we asked for garlic fries instead. We ended up getting both. The garlic fries are really out of this world - perfectly seasoned and served crispy and piping hot. The burger had a nice smoky flavor.
Service was great, we never felt rushed and it was really a great evening. We will be back and next time we will bring our jazz loving friends.