The Red Cat, Jan. 30, 2006
10th Avenue bet. 23rd and 24th
Danna has been kind enough to take some time off from work to take care of my mother. In the interim, I'm working and going to school and so after school tonight, I headed several blocks west to revisit The Red Cat.
I went the OpenTable route to get 100 pts and opted to sit at the bar where Amy, a cute bartender with really good moves, was to the point but kept herself available for conversation. She also had great skills in getting people (even her own friend) to "bite" on a particular wine. I probably tipped her less than I should have (20% was what I gave her) but I'll somehow make it up to her.
Here's what I had:
Tempura Green Beans
These were as good as ever and I thoroughly enjoyed half of the full serving. Better than candy to a kid.
Baby spinach, sliced cremini and shitaki, fried egg, tempura bacon, red onion, tamarind (shallot) vinaigrette This was very tasted and had slight similarities (slight) to the warm lamb's tongue vinaigrette at Babbo. The egg should have been a 3 minute egg - nice and runny...or at least panko crusted a la Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The egg could have been much better. The entire dish had a porcine essence to it but the bacon itself was minimal. Otherwise it was good.
I love the radishes at the bar but was very surprised at the lack of zing to them. Maybe they were French radishes (isn't that what they are at the Greenmarket...maybe Belgian?). Music tonight included the Beach Boys (Sloop John B) and Simon & Garfunkle (Mrs. Robinson) as well as Terence Trent D'Arby (Wishing Well)...all of which neither had much of an impact on the meal nor did it detract from the ambiance. Odd choices which took any trendiness out of the restaurant.
Roasted monkfish cheeks with hearts of palm salad and sweet hot sauce
Speaking of the Beach Boys, this had as much depth as anything on Pet Sounds. Crispy and moist, sharp and mellow in all the places where it needed to be. They certainly have the push and pull (Grey Kunz) down.
I had two glasses of the 2004 Vouvray they had by the glass which was great...and a better value than the Long Island "Sisters" wine that they have. Still a bit pricey at $12, but your best bet for the whites.
I truly love The Red Cat. I just wish I lived closer to it. The one thing that does bother me with both this place and the Mermaid Inn is the limited menu. True, there is enough on the menu for me to visit a few more times without ever ordering the same thing (especially those sardines which looked crazy good), but I think I will feel slightly cramped with the options the third or fourth time I visit. Then again...that remains to be seen. For those that have yet to check it out...what are you waiting for?