09 February 2009

A little mea culpa for Moscow's Red Door

Yesterday I went on and on about the lack of good food in this area (homesickness takes its toll) but it would be unfair of me to not acknowledge a couple of decent meals I've had in Pullman/Moscow restaurants. For our one year wedding anniversary, Ian and I went to the Red Door, an establishment that offers a pretty decent menu. Why is called the Red Door? Quite simple, really: the front door is red. The interior is very dim and I love the booth seating with high backs so I don't have to watch other people eat, but it does get extremely noisy with the acoustics. It probably didn't help that we were seated right next to their sound system and it sometimes felt like we were at a rock concert....

Please pardon my horrible pictures, but the lighting in Red Door is not exactly conducive to good quality photos. Oh yeah, and I'm not technologically capable. Needless to say, I won't be winning any awards for these anytime soon.

Our appetizer was a trio of seared scallops, collard greens and crispy pork belly, which has potential to be a great dish. The tenderness of the scallop, the slightly chewy texture of the collard greens and (my favorite) the crispety-crunchety but still buttery taste of pork belly (anyone catch that Maya Angelou SNL skit reference?) is comforting to me. What arrived at our table were decent and fresh scallops, a tiny amount of pork belly and a big heaping slop of very vinegary, salty greens. Already I was disappointed, and luckily the salad made up for the horrible mess of this appetizer.

Being not exactly famished, we decided to split the blackened tuna salad that came with a honey-dijon dressing. The greens were very fresh and the tuna was cooked absolutely perfectly, but my one complaint here was the dressing. It seemed a little too sweet for the tuna and I would have preferred it to be a bit more tangy. One triumph here though: IAN ATE TUNA AND SCALLOPS. He's not exactly a fish man, but shortly after eating at Red Door, he began asking me about seafood, and I'm proud to say he's been eating it a couple of times a week now. Yay!!!

My main course was described as "Half Young Chicken. Tandoori-style Spices. Creamed lentils, green basmati rice cake, yoghurt-mint sauce, house-made peach chutney."
I should have remembered that ordering chicken in a restaurant is always hit or miss, but I figured I was safe in not ordering simply breast meat, which always comes out dry and tasting like a hockey puck. The chicken wasn't so much a half chicken as it was a couple of limbs from what I can only imagine was an anorexic farm animal. I picked and picked but wasn't able to cull much meat out of this poor guy. The meat was tender and falling off the bone, however, and I didn't taste any hockey puck, so I *guess* that's a tiny victory. Kind of.

The basmati cake wasn't so much a cake as it was rice mashed together with a bread crumb glue, while the creamed lentils were fantastic. This is not surprising given our dubious honor of hosting The National Lentil Festival. The yoghurt sauce was my favorite part of this dish, which happened to pair very nicely with my dry rice cake, and the chutney was....not very memorable.

Ian's main course was a slow-roasted wild boar shoulder ragu over fresh tagliatelle. The boar ragu was awesome, the meat tender and really full of flavor, but it was just too darn salty for both of us. The pasta was WAYYYYYYY overdone (is anyone around here familiar with the concept of 'al dente'?), but we ate it anyway. It was definitely disappointing given that it's a truly beautiful plate o' pasta.

We did order dessert but it wasn't anything to write home about. Chocolate. Whipped. In a martini glass. Woo hoo.

I've been to Red Door a few times with friends before, and I've always thought their food had great potential, but it often writes a check its food can't cash. My favorite part has nothing to do with the food at all, and that's it's location (above--a little blurry after a bottle of Cote de Rhone). Moscow, Idaho is this sleepy little town with a lot of earthy type folk and down to earth mentality, and there's a sense of community and friendliness that just doesn't exist in Pullman. Oh yeah, and there are less anorexic bottle blondes wearing giant sunglasses driving BMWs with their popped collar wearing frat boyfriends in the passenger seat.


Kristen said...

so sad and so true. The Red Door has been more disappointment than anything else in the past couple years in this culinary abyss, (sometimes called the Palouse). Lately I have had better food at Nectar than TRD, but I really am feeling the need to get to Seattle or somewhere to feed my cravings!

This place can drive you crazy in the winter that lasts forever:) get out if you get the chance.

EMC said...

Yeah, I wasn't terribly impressed with the truffle pasta at Nectar (again, pasta overcooked), but at least it ties me over until I can....leave.

I get excited to see family on trips, but mostly (shhh--don't tell them) I just want to eat!!