Monday, May 19, 2014

revving it up at REDSTONE at National Harbor, MD (5-17-14)

On Saturday night my birthday celebration started with an invite from our dearest friends to dinner. Little did we know we were going to the barely two-week old REDSTON American Grill at National Harbor.
( I had never heard of Redstone and the General Manager (who greeted our hosts like old friends) explained that they are a Minnesota chain that is expanding, especially in this area.
There was a person in the lobby explaining that seating was limited and long waits might be the case as the bar was jammed and even though it was in the low 60's at sunset, the outside bar patio was heaving.
We were seated along the floor to ceiling window overlooking the river and the new ferris wheel that is slated to open next week. As the sun set the place filled up and we were lucky to be in this quiet section. There are wooden
tables and slate floors, so when full, there is nothing to absorb the din.
Our charming server Steve had served our hosts before and he explained everything very clearly and carefully. The menu is large, but simplified and not overwhelming. The only thing I would seek, might be more wine choices.
When we walked by the bar I noticed large glass containers on the bar with what looked like polenta in liquid. Well, I knew my eyesight was getting worse when Steve explained that its pineapple in vodka! I ordered one of these martini-style, but it was my least favorite thing all night. The drink tastes like watered down pineapple juice that packs a punch. Back to the straight vodka next time. I even tasted the strawberry version later on in the evening and that was way too sweet for me.
Our first wine was a superb Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay from Santa Lucia Highlands which came in a silvery bottle reminiscent of Lancer's; weird.
It paired wonderfully with our huge array of starters: Seared Ahi Tuna which comes super rare with a sesame seed and black pepper crust with Asian slaw(with edamame, peppers and cabbage), wasabi and soy-lime sauce. It was a main course dish with about a dozen slice of sushi-grade tuna and superbly presented and very flavorful.
Rotisserie Chicken FLATBREAD comes with roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, wild mushrooms, truffle oil and fresh basil. We had seen the gorgeous birds in their rotation nearby and had to try them, so we opted for this preparation which is another huge portion easily a main course.
Lodge CORNBREAD seems to be a specialty here and Steve did try to sell us on a whole loaf, but we went for the basic wedge so we could each taste. It was as moist as cornbread ever gets and oh so buttery, but even better with the maple butter that comes on the side, which was thankfully not too sweet.
The best starter was easily the BUFFALO JUMBO SHRIMP which come fried or grilled (we chose grilled) with a buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing. I asked Steve which part of the buffalo they came from! His response was even funnier, but I forgot what he said!
We moved on to a superb PAUL HOBBS BRAMARE 2011 by Vina Cobos made in the Argentine region of Lujan de Cuyo which had aromas of crushed berries and coffee with superb smooth tannins. I adored this wine made by three famous winemakers, Hobbs with Andrea Marchiori and Luis Barraud and would love to taste it again in 2 years!
Main courses excel here as did my Pesto Crusted HALIBUT with Yukon Gold Potatoes, Garlic Spinach, Crispy Fried Leeks and an excellent yet mild Thai chili beurre blanc. While I've been unsuccessfully trying to cut back on carbs, the only bad part of this dish (to my pleasure) was that the fish was atop the spinach and potatoes, so the potatoes were very mushy and soggy and I skipped them totally (yay!). Seared CRAB CAKES were excellent and served with Tomato Corn Salad, Sriracha Aioli and a side of Old Bay Fries (these I tasted and could not resist). A grilled lemon comes with them making the flavor burst even more, but I have to be honest that we are a crabcake city and while these were good, each year's AIWF crabcake competition (this years is next month) by the AIWF would set up some steep bidding against these.
If your head to Redstone, it might be tough to decide between the rotiserrie chicken and the ribs in which case you can order the COMBO with half of each! The chicken comes classic (au jus) or barbeque and is slow cooked in a woodfired rotisserie.
Steaks also abound here, but we all wanted to try the specialties as there is so much steak all over DC.
Since it was my birthday(almost), I got a Deconstructed BANANA CREAM PIE (I didn't order anything!) with toasted nut crust, banana custard, bananas, and whipped cream with a huge sparkler in it. I was warned not to blow on it, as it would get bigger! OOPS! The KEY LIME PIE was nice but it was as big as Will's head and its crust is made of graham cracker and almond, a nice change. The hit dessert was the Warm CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE SUNDAE with Ice Cream, Candied Pecans and Chocolate Fudge Sauce. The cookie was baked into the pan and crispy and gooey and oh so yummy.
Well, I rolled out the door and while I'm sure we'll be back, next time I'm ordering much less for sure. We actually all had huge take home bags and they will last quite a while I am sure.