Looking for a place to take your parents when they visit, a go-to spot for a special occasion with your significant other or a bar to watch the big game with your buddies? Red Bird on Moody Street is the place. The decor and ambience outdo all of the neighboring restaurants; the lighting gives off a dark, elegant feel while the staff and seating arrangements create a cozy environment. Our party sat in one of the booths situated along the beautifully rustic, white-brick wall, which snugly seated the four of us. Shortly after we settled in, a waitress jubilantly walked over to hand us menus and the wine list and to recite the daily specials.
Even though The Boston Globe and Zagat label it as New American, the menu contains dishes from all around the globe, such as the slow-cooked carnitas tamale with homemade mole, aged cheddar and grilled lime is a Central American inspired appetizer. The homemade potato gnocchi cooked with braised veal, wild mushrooms and Madeira Jus (peppery sauce made with Madeira wine) offers a taste of Italy. Then there is the Austrian influenced pork loin schnitzel with bacon braised cabbage, spätzle (soft egg noodle or dumpling) and gravy. Therefore, if you are someone whose taste buds squirm in fear when you read the word “American” in the food description, do not let them make a false prediction.
After closely analyzing the menu for about 10 minutes (the delightful complimentary bread and butter was a big distraction), we decided on four appetizers. The organic mixed greens salad was refreshing and had a pleasant addition of broken honey sesame sticks. Another delightful starter, especially since unprocessed beets are hard to come by on campus, was the beet salad. The added crunch of candied pecans made the small difference that made this mainstream appetizer unique. Since we are not huge veal fans we asked the waitress politely if they could modify the gnocchi dish. Without any hesitation she accommodated our request with a warm smile. The potato dumplings were cooked “al dente” and the wild mushrooms left our mouths watering for more. Without the veal, though, one of the people in our party remarked that the dish seemed a bit bland and in need of some extra flavor. The last appetizer was the braised short rib, which was a bit on the dry side but the polenta made up for it with its incredibly smooth creaminess.
The waitress told us that the main courses would take a while to come out because of the small kitchen headed by Daniel Stokes. However, our party was too busy chatting in our comfy little booth to notice. One of the greatest parts of this experience was the homey, yet luxurious feel of the restaurant that provided a terrific escape from our stress-filled college environment. After an enjoyable wait (which is hard to come by in our busy lives) the meat of our meal, arrived.
We ordered three hanger steaks and one salmon. Even though this was the best piece of steak my friend and I have had in a long time, it did not live up to the hype that The Boston Globe review built up. While the inside was chewy and savory, the outside was almost completely burnt. I was able to drown out the burnt taste with the flavorful bone marrow butter, caramelized brussel sprouts, and their signature torn and fried potatoes. Their potatoes were such a great balance of crispiness and tenderness that one of the people in our party ordered a side of them after trying one of mine.
Furthermore, one of the steaks was not only undercooked, but also not hot enough (temperature wise). When we told the waitress she immediately apologized and took it back to the kitchen. To our grand surprise, she brought it back out with a whole new batch (for he had already eaten some of them) of caramelized brussels sprouts and potatoes. As for the salmon, it ended up being an incredibly savory and healthy option. The soy-maple glaze enhanced the flavor of the already juicy, fresh and well-cooked fish. The highlight, though, as stated by a member of our party, were the crispy cashews in the wild rice.
The grand finale was the chocolate souffle. The rich, warm chocolate on the inside almost made my friend cry from happiness. To cool your mouth down, it is accompanied by the never before heard of graham cracker ice cream. Just when we thought we could not be in more bliss, we were proven wrong. Next time you are craving a scoop of ice cream, forget Lizzy’s! The friendly staff would be more than happy to provide you with a couple of scoops of Red Bird’s incredible homemade ice creams if you just walk in and ask please!
It is not the cheapest meal, but definitely a worthwhile deal. The service is top notch, the atmosphere is wonderful, and it is a savory meal. Add a little spunk to your week and take a BranVan out to Moody Street.