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It wears * Red Velvet * whoa whoa whoa!

Enjoyed dinner at Red Velvet http://www.redvelvetwinebar.com/ last night. This place kicks ass. I'd say it rivals WineVault as a small-plate/wine pair destination. It's more money and the plates are a bit more complicated, but you get what you pay for.

We'd not been before and, in a shy way, put our toes in the water and ordered the plates called Yellowtail and Tomato.

Here, I've thoughtfully provided the very menu I clutched throughout the meal:

http://bit.ly/9fa64i

I thought the Yellowtail was the weakest of the entire set, but only because I've been to Kaito. Damn you Morita-san, I ruined for life! (This is chowhound san diego, and one cannot go more than a few paragraphs sans hat-tip to Kaito and, for that matter, Chloe)

The tomato water in which the main portion's portion was wading in a haymaker of flavor. Should I be unable to chew through loss of teeth in my fast-approaching old age, this will be an excellent way to enjoy heirlooms.

Bass was heavily buttered, as were may of the dishes last night- very Franco Burre-ish, but appropriate to the technique.

Duck was the best I've had in San Diego- beef was unusual, yet familiar. See, I can gush in the foodielit clichés!

Yes, the was a petit fromage course, remarkable that it's based on only one cheese selection and all it's little helper flavors like honeycomb teeny-tiny itty bitty (not foodielit) slices of peach were like (anytime you see "was like" in a foodielit, you know you're in for a cliché) sorry- was like an explosion of flavor! Sparks flew! Fireworks i my mouth! A spoonful of natural Peach Pop-Rocks. Ok, I'm calming down now.

Dessert was fabulous. Remarkable. Quenelles of concentrated exotic flavors. Masterfully crafted. Beautiful presentation (foodielit and cliché goes together like peanut butter and jelly, no?) Indulgent. Sinful. Over the top. As good as a Chart House Mud Pie. < ugh that one's not a great comparison. At all.

Yes, every course was wine paired, and I like wine a lot. It's tasty. If you'd like a more in-depth review of the obviously high quality selections, you may need to find a different writer. But for now, I'll roll out these crusty nuggets to gain your trust:

Crisp yet toasty. Pear, nectarine, green apple, citrus flower, baked almonds, biscuit dough Bright fruit with balance. Vivid and honeyed. Apricot, honeydew, seashell, peach pit, walnuts, tree sap. Dried strawberry, peach, gouda cheese, with underlying sweet brioche flavors.Racy with striking minerality. Lemon zest, cantaloupe, chive, mandarin orange, gun flint.Rustic with a nutty richness. Walnut shell, yellow apple, dried pear, prosciutto, wool. California does Burgundy. Apple, almond, white flowers, under-lying earth tones.

These are quotes shamelessly lifted with great disregard for the intellectually properties of others, from their own wine list. Thus providing a perfect basis for the hives in which I break out when discussing fine wine- I'll never be a cork-dork, I know much more about the varieties of motor oil. I'm not the type to swirl-swirl-swirl and wax episodic about the subtle yet elegant undertones of wool in my wine. Do I appreciate good quality and excellent flavor? Of course. And each pairing we had was a clear and obvious choice, thoughtfully matched like a hand to a glove (whee! foodietlit!) to it's newlywed first cousin of the food course. It was brilliant, but I have to recuse myself from the wine courtroom- I'll make no decisions for which I'm unqualified. The wine was damn good, like a 40 oz Budweiser in the hot summer sun.

As any good foodielit provocateur is want to do, I have some not-so-nice criticisms of a perfectly enjoyable meal to further endear you into believing I'm an authority on food and it's preparation. This is the part of my (foodie) literary devotion to Red Velvet where I use words like:

Overly-complex
Non-singular flavor profiles
Indulgent
Juvenile
Immature
Jumbled
Mish-mash

so rather than form complete sentences and incorporating those words, a list like this (how could I use the power of the internet to generate a sound from your device's speaker so as to make a Ding! sound each and every time one of the words appear?) could save us all time. But I can hear the moans and groans from you, dear readers, feeling ripped off that I could use such words full of emotional charge without context. <sigh> Allllriiiight:

I had a feeling the dishes were trying a little too hard. First, there was foam on nearly every dish- Rosemary Foam, Lemongrass Foam and Iforgethterest Foam. Foam is fine (indeed, the fundamental element in surfing and carwash culture) now and then, but gets overly cute really fast. The flavors of each dish were piled high and fast- on each small plate, we had a high-ranking Officer (the Duck, por ejemplo) and then an entire division of other flavors. Yes, it was interesting and masterfully executed (foodielit cliché!) and the army worked together to conquer my palate (I love this stuff) but sometimes, like Godzilla, you just want to devour the high-ranking officer. If one's in that mood, go to Ruth's Chris I suppose, not Red Velvet.

Moving along- I've digressed. We, in our shy way (we're shy people) ordered the plates called Yellowtail and Tomato. Once those plates were served and enjoyed, we just told the server to deliver the rest of the entire menu, including wine pairings which they will allow half-glasses to permit at least Joseph Hazelwood level of à pied navigation after your meal. We were not disappointed with any of them.

Oh, and not only. Not only was the food excellent, but the place was hushed. I could hear Mrs Name's beautiful voice and subtle inflections of impatience with me. Impatient yet tolerant- I'm a lucky guy. But the ability to share good conversation in a hushed and intimate tone is salient to a enjoyable meal. It's not just the food- it's the company and intimacy one enjoys with a good meal and time together. I'm quite done with the sorority house atmosphere of other venues.

And we got a bonus. There was an electrical glitch that night and the overhead lighting was inoperative. So the whole place was bathed in candlelight. Yes, it was hard to see the plates. But just like the shushed tones, the subdued lighting enhanced the intimacy of the experience.

We will be back. I hope they don't fix the lights.

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  1. See? Now YOU'VE done it. Bobby Vinton wafting through my head. Well, that and "cork-dork." :)

    I walked past this place this week, and thought it might be worth a try. Thanks for the review!

    2 Replies
    1. re: phee

      I hope the sounds of Bobby Vinton are subtly contrasted with the visual of Frank Booth.

      1. re: Fake Name

        Oh, now you've done it again. Please tell me none of the wait staff has a name tag that says "Mommy."

    2. Shy people? Harumph. Shy people dipping in their toes don't order the whole menu with wine pairings...but for our sake, I am glad you did. Excellent review with the Fake Name amusing point of view (well except of course on the wine, but not being a cork dork myself, I would have found that superfluous and over my head). I never gave Red Velvet much thought. I had assumed it was just another new entry in the rabbit-multiplying pace of new SD Wine Bars and that it would be off-putting in the noise department, and less-than-generous in the chow department. I can't wait to wade in...after removing my Louboutins.

      Seriously, do they take reservations? Did you have much of a wait at the time you went (pet peeve)?

      P.S. What is it about you and the electrical misfirings in that building?

      6 Replies
      1. re: foodiechick

        Let the record show the previous experience , while in the same building, was a misadventure in the kitchen, and I had something to do with neither. Just a passive bystander.

        We waltzed in around a typically American time for dinner- 7-ish. <insert snarky though from stevewag> We left after 945-ish, and they had turned the tables and several bar seats during our stay.

        I, too would have never ventured into the place- it's pretty upscale and don't have a drive thru, and therefore not on my radar screen. But we were tipped off by some fellow cuisineiscenti (new word ©2010fakename all rights reserved) that have excellent taste.

        It's good. Go there.

        1. re: Fake Name

          "We waltzed in around a typically American time for dinner- 7-ish. <insert snarky though from stevewag>"

          Ha.

          Wait, when did New Orleans, New York, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Miami Beach stop being "America"?

        2. re: foodiechick

          "Did you have much of a wait at the time you went (pet peeve)?"

          Most nights the place will give you no problem. Early in the week its dead empty.

          1. re: stevewag23

            Hey, thanks.

            1. re: foodiechick

              Another update:

              Walked by Red Velvet last night (Wednesday) at 8:02pm. Only one customer. So it should be easy to check out.

              On the other hand, Bencotto looked like every seat was full. Even the bar.

              1. re: stevewag23

                Damn. Must've put the whammy on them.
                 
                 
                 

        3. Man after that romantic dinner and intimate lighting, did you take Mrs. Fakey for a walk on the beach?

          3 Replies
          1. re: cstr

            Nah, ever since she turned 25 last year, sleep is a high priority for her.

            1. re: Fake Name

              I feel Mrs. Fakey's sleep pain..will turn 23 this September and sleep is a high priority too!
              ; )

              1. re: Beach Chick

                gotta love your crib time! only at 23, you're lucky it didn't happen sooner.

          2. Where are the pictures?? :-)

            1 Reply
            1. re: daantaat

              No light, no pictures. And if I had a religion, using flash in a dining venue would be a mortal sin.

            2. Really enjoyed the very entertaining review !

              1. Love your report..and love the look of the place.
                Dining by candlelight always makes a fun place to eat and drink.
                I believe the candles put more of a 'shush factor' into the vibe..so tired of loud noise while dining.
                More restaurants need candles and dimmers.

                1. Excellent review and the menu looks very enticing Fake Name. I'll have to check it out.

                  It's somewhat curious that they didn't include any local beers as part of the pairings. Now given there's nothing wrong with the beers they chose, but for each one there's probably a local that's just as good (if not better).