Redd Wood is one of those restaurants that could easily qualify as your favorite neighborhood joint.
With a cosmopolitan, masculine-chic vibe, plus affordable pizzas and pastas done superbly, it’s the kind of place you can comfortably return to again and again.
Now, if only I could afford to live in Yountville — well, then I’d be all set.
Barring that, at least I was fortunate enough to be invited recently to dine as a guest for lunch at Chef Richard Reddington’s newest restaurant. His first, of course, is the Michelin-starred Redd, a much tonier establishment just a stroll away in downtown Yountville.
So many Napa Valley restaurants sport a Mediterranean look. Redd Wood has none of that. Instead, it looks like a trendy New York restaurant, with its black leather tufted booths, train station clock, marble general’s desk turned service station, and striking ship’s buoy that’s been dipped in bronze and refashioned as a light fixture.
Bardessono hotel sits right in downtown Yountville, which boasts more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else, thanks to such lofty neighbors as the French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro and Redd.
The three-year-old, eco-friendly resort is one of only a handful of hotels in the world to be LEED platinum certified, the highest standard for environmental design. It’s always been a hotel of great beauty and thoughtful attention to detail. But it’s struggled to have a restaurant truly worthy of its surroundings and on par with the other world-class dining establishments just steps away.
Opening Executive Chef Sean O’Toole did a fantastic job, but he departed in 2010. The restaurant was left rather rudderless — and it showed in the food — until the middle of 2011, when the talented Victor Scargle, formerly of Go Fish in St. Helena and Julia’s Kitchen in Napa, was hired.
To go along with the new chef, the restaurant got a complete overhaul, too. Formerly, you’d have to wind your way through the property to find the restaurant. Now, there’s a new door at the front of the hotel that clearly leads you to Lucy, the restaurant named for the matriarch of the Bardessono family who once owned this swath of former farmland.
I had a chance to dine as a guest under each of the restaurant’s chef changes. A few weeks ago, I was invited back to check out Chef Scargle’s new menu.
The dining room used to be one unencumbered room done up in elegant, golden earth tones and tables made from reclaimed wood. It’s much different now — bathed in deep purples and dark grays with hard-edged metal light fixtures, giving it more of a trendy hotel vibe. Low wood partitions wrap around some of the seating areas to provide a bit more privacy, but can make it difficult for servers to notice when diners need something.