The last few years have been a repeat of going to our favorite bar for dinner, and then getting kicked out at 8pm so that the bar could set up for their NYE festivities. And we’d never bother buying a table for their NYE event, so we’d always wander our separate ways home. Don’t get me wrong – seeing my friends is the *best* was to pass New Year’s Eve. It’s just lame that we could never remember to do something a little out of the ordinary.
But NOT this year. I remembered to make plans ahead of time for us, and after a few days of indecision, we made reservations for The Red House in Cambridge.
We had never been there before, but the NYE special menu totally interested us. Four courses for $50. There was even a vegetarian option for each course which one of our members benefited from.
- Alaskan king crab bisque with parsnip chips
- potato & jerusalem artichoke latkes with smoked salmon tartar & dill-wasabi creme fraiche
- spinach & watercress salad with honey roasted pear, toasted pistachios & red lentil vinaigrette
- organic duck & pork terrine with winter truffles, preserved tomato relish & toasted hearth bread
- pasticchio – homemade spinach pasta layered with wild mushrooms, roasted tomato & taleggio cream
- risotto with lobster, foie gras, arugula & camembert
- hand-cut pappardelle with braised wild boar, root vegetables & savory herbs
- grilled angus tenderloin with oyster cream & fried shallot rings
- black tea infused organic pheasant breast with persimmon-ginger chutney
- pan-seared farm raised striped bass with curried cauliflower puree & toasted hazelnuts
- winter vegetable gratin with rosemary-chèvre sauce
- panetone bread pudding drizzled with warm butterscotch sauce
- assorted imported cheeses with port wine poached pear & water crackers
- deep chocolate torte with coffee buttercream
I had the latkes, the pappardelle, the pheasant, and the bread pudding. The latkes would have been completely unimpressive if it hadn’t been for the dill-wasabi creme fraiche. The creme fraiche was a great punch of flavors, but latke kept it from being overbearing and overwhelming.
The pappardelle was excellent. The pork/boar was fork tender, and the sauce was seasoned just to my liking (not too sour, not too salty). The pasta kind of reminded me of the wide rice noodles you get in beef chow fun. Since those noodles are probably my second most favorite (I think udon might be my #1 favorite), I ate every bit of pasta I could find on my plate.
The pheasant dish was lovely. The persimmon chutney also had golden raisins and cranberries. You couldn’t really taste the ginger. The meat was a bit on the dry side, but I found that the chutney was just the thing it needed to balance out the flavor and texture. I couldn’t taste any black tea so I guess that a tiny disappointment, but with the gorgeous chutney I don’t think it mattered at all. The pheasant was served on top of broccoli rabe (I think) and mashed potatoes. The chutney also paired deliciously with them.
Dessert, though, I think was everyone’s favorite course. Nearly everyone got the bread pudding. One person got the cheese plate, and another the chocolate torte. I got a taste of the torte – it was surprisingly light in texture! It was good, but as much as a chocolate fiend I am, I wasn’t too interested in the coffee flavored cream frosting. On the other hand, the bread pudding was absolutely yummy! I don’t think I even have words that can describe how good we all thought it was. It was sweet but not cloying. It was everything I wanted in my New Year’s Eve dessert. It totally made my evening out well worth the effort. It made me want more bread pudding. (^_~)
All in all, our dinner at The Red House was superb. My friends highly recommend their drink “Mr. Sparkle” (absolut citron, St. Germain & lychee puree, served up, ice cold) which is part of their regular menu right now. There were also special cocktails for the NYE menu, but I don’t remember what was what and who liked what. Toward the end of the night, everyone had a Mr. Sparkle (partly because it was a good cocktail and partly because we like “The Simpsons”). The decor of the house is not fancy (it was built in 1802 after all), but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t treated like you’re not in a fine restaurant. Our waitress was a good conversationalist and made sure to check on us regularly. The menu books are unique and cute (see under the plate in the first photo), and overall the food was excellent. Plus, I loved the smell of a fireplace upon entering the house.
I’d be more than happy to go back there.
Happy New Year’s everyone! And a Happy New Year’s to the Red House too!