Yesterday (at around 5:30PM, on a Friday) my parents decided we need to go out for dinner. Now, I don't know if admitting we had no plans for the evening is sad or not, but in any case, we agreed and engaged in a flurry of activity attempting to make a reservation for 4 in a decent restaurant before 9PM. I tried Brava Bistro (ha, but you never know), Mercato (double ha), but ended up getting a reservation at Redwater Grille - the NW location, as obviously Aspen and downtown were impossible to get into.
I've been meaning to try Redwater for a while, as I used to walk by their downtown location at least once a day back in 2008, but just never got around to it, until yesterday. Now, I'm always weary about a restaurant sandwiched between a place called the Cat House and the Keg, but once you get inside, it actually looks quite nice. I liked the roomy leather booth we got, and the red leather chairs they use are also quite appealing.
The wine list is substantial (a couple of Redwaters have received Wine Spectator awards, but most importantly, we found a Ripasso for under $60), so no complaints there. Bread came with raspberry butter, so that was... interesting. At first, it tastes like raspberry cream cheese, but then you get the aftertaste of butter (not in a bad way, just odd). Apparently my parents got apple butter there once, and it was worse. The bread was delicious though.
The rundown on appetizers: a salad with a really long description that was, by any other name, a Caesar, mushroom dip, mussels and shrimp. Mushroom dip is definitely something you could share as it came with approximately 10,000 wedges of flatbread. The dip was not bad, but a bit too lemony for my taste. The mussels were very flavourful, although I will always take white wine, cream and garlic over a tomato broth concoction - that's a matter of personal preference of course. The plate I ordered, the shrimp, was (at least in my extremely humble opinion) the best of the bunch - the shrimp were large and succulent, the sauce was delicious and garlicy, and the crostini the shrimp rested on was the perfect vessel to soak up all that sauce. Seconds, please.
Onto the mains! The parents ordered lamb shank and a chicken (more like half of a sizable chicken... my mom had no chance) and both of us got the duck breast - ironically all four came garnished with a spring of rosemary (dad: "so do we eat that?"). Now, I don't know if you remember, but I love duck. I think it should be its own food group. This duck was disappointing - overcooked for what we asked for (medium and medium rare) and a bit tough. The sides were delicious however, especially the beets. Okay maybe I'm a wee bit biased. In any case, I will probably stick to ribeye next time. Methinks a steakhouse for my birthday is in order...
After all that, unfortunately I didn't have room for desert. Right! I got the amaretto white chocolate cheesecake and tea (everyone else stuck to various forms of coffee, apparently passable). The tea was Mighty Leaf, which is always welcome, and the cheesecake was quite good, if a bit too sweet for my taste between white chocolate, amaretto, chocolate cookie crust and sweetened raspberry coulis, but the consistency of it was excellent, and that's half the battle.
The verdict: Redwater is an above average mid-range restaurant, but I wouldn't order anything out of the ordinary. And stick to the Aspen location - apparently the view is to die for.