July 16: Reds Bistro ★★
Reds is a run-down, neighborhood ‘joint’ with trippy carpets and obtuse chairs. It tries to be independent yet the completely reproducible furnishings and finishings give away its status as a concept restaurant. The nostalgic resemblance to the Canyon Creeks and the Jack Astor’s (all of these restaurants are owned by “SIR Corp”) is depressing. An unsightly soft-shell crab is a deformed deep-fried ball kicked around by an underdressed salad and food-truck tartar sauce. The steak salad reminded of the drudgery of late night binges at Petit Four (also of “SIR Corp”). To be fair, for cold flank steak layered with store-bought croutons and corn cobs, it was surprisingly refreshing and sweet. And no one likes corn on a salad as much as Ben G (Cobb salad anyone?). The barbeque sauce was drizzled so proudly upon the dish, an oddity given its commercial (HP?) roots. The shortcake dessert was rather interesting with its fluffy custard cream and strong but not overpowering berry preserve. The humor in all of this is the menu (see below). The dressing up of such mundane dishes with flashy words though, creates some expectations this place simply cannot meet. Although, I do agree that the steak could have come out of the backyard (in Reds’s case, the adjacent First Canadian Place food court).
panko crusted soft shell crab
baby greens | fresh lemon and olive oil | pickled garlic scape tartar sauce
backyard bbq steak salad
smoked flatiron | picnic lettuce blend | grilled corn | basil butter toast | bbq sauce jus
“broken” summer trifle
drunken shortcake | berry preserve | custard cream