The Red House Restaurant
78. 12-22 The Red House Restaurant 98 Winthrop Street. Summary: Fine dining, cozy atmosphere, quality comfort food, expensive.
Winthrop Street is turning out to be quite the corner for high-end dining. Upstairs on the Square, Om, and now the Red House restaurant. And I haven't yet tried Tommy Doyle's. So for location, the Red House gets top marks.
For atmosphere, high marks again. It's not as fancy inside as either Om or Upstairs, but clearly management put a lot of money into the renovation of the building. There are four areas for eating: An outside patio, useless now in the winter; a foyer room facing the street; a bar/lounge area with a working, real-wood fireplace (not many of those around anymore - a nice touch!), and the main dining room in the back, with a fancy circular skylight in the middle. But compared with the nearby fancy restaurants, the Red House seems sort of quaint, with the multiple rooms, narrow hallway, and working fireplace. Cozy, but certainly not cutting edge.
Service was fine - our server was prompt and polite. He knew the menu well but I didn't get the impression he was really into the food - more reading off a list rather than understanding how the ingredients would taste.
The food was good - very good, but not great. I went with my friend Dwight, and we each had the house salad, which was a plateful and had a light dressing that seemed just right. Then, we each had lobster dishes; mine was the lobster pot pie, Dwight's the lobster risotto. I definitely enjoyed the pot pie - the puff pastry on top was light and perfectly browned, and the lobster/potato/veggies were in a light cream sauce beneath. Dwight loved his lobster risotto, which was definitely more food than mine.
My only complaint is that the Red House uses a lot of cream. The soup special, both our lobster dishes, then other dishes including carbonara - there's not a lot on the menu that is cholesterol friendly. It's a high end comfort food restaurant, I think.
For $30 each, tip included, only tap water to drink - what I paid at Harvest, Upstairs, and Om - I would place the Red House last on that list. It's a bit pricey for the fare. But it's certainly an enjoyable experience.