Yes, I am well aware that I just posted a list of my Top 8 San Diego restaurants but would you really mind if I stretch that number to 9? Since this past weekend honored both Presidents Day and Valentines Day, I surmised that “Washington Street” might be a suitable location for a lunch date to commemorate the dual holiday. The Red Door Restaurant & Wine Bar has been atop my “Restaurants I Must Try List” for sometime now. Lo and behold, it is located at 741 W Washington in the Mission Hills district. So with hungry tummies and much anticipation, we ventured off to Mission Hills for a new dining experience …
Entering the bar and reception area of The Red Door, I literally felt like I was in the home of a friend. Impressive mouldings, creamy walls, aged brick and rustic hardwood floors are incredibly warm and inviting. Tonal tapestries and artwork strategically placed on walls give balance to a bevy of linen draped windows framing views of the trendy neighborhood. Banquette seating wrapped in soft taupe leather and dining chairs painted and upholstered in beige and cream starkly contrast with wood floors and tables stained in shades of deep espresso. Ivory hued fabric shades on contemporary silver chandeliers provide a subtle glow from above. Owners Tom and Trish Watlington and their Red Door team have masterfully executed the farm-to-table concept. They’ve converted a large section of land near Mount Helix into a prolific garden and deliver daily harvests to the restaurant. Here, Executive Chef Karrie Hills and her team create sensational entrees using the Watlingtons’ garden bounty and sustainably harvested and raised foods sourced from select purveyors including Suzie’s Farm, Catalina Offshore and Point Loma Farms. The Watlingtons’ son Justin is General Manager and their daughter Sarah designed the restaurant’s cozy and inviting interior space.
That farm-to-table goodness I just mentioned could not be any more evident than in an appetizer of fresh roasted seasonal vegetables served in a light chimichurri sauce with toasted pistachios … I swear I could have licked that plate clean! Selecting a main entree was an incredibly difficult decision so thankfully our awesome waiter John was an incredibly patient man (who should accept some of the blame for this delay because he recommended so many mouth watering options). Being the short rib addict that I am, I decided on John’s favorite, the braised short rib sandwich and a bowl of butternut squash soup du jour drizzled with fresh cream. Let’s just say that savoring the sweetly decadent soup and tender red wine braised ribs, creamy chunks of blue cheese and crispy onion rings piled high on a toasted brioche roll make for a VERY happy day!!!!
Now for dessert … did someone say meyer lemon goat-cheese and mascarpone cheesecake? Okay sure, bring it on. Tangy lemon baked with creamy cheeses atop a crunchy shortbread crust, garnished with sweet lemon curd and a drizzle of berry coulis combine for perhaps the most sensationally flavorful cheesecake I’ve ever tasted!
I simply cannot imagine a better way to spend a warm San Diego Valentine’s Day afternoon than sitting at a romantic window table with someone who is extra special, savoring farm-to-table delights created by Ms. Hills and her team at The Red Door. It was absolute dining nirvana paired with incredible service in a beautifully warm environment. Rest assured I will be returning very soon. Please visit the Red Door’s website at http://thereddoorsd.com for complete information or to make a reservation (HIGHLY recommended) for a spectacular epicurean experience.