A2 Rating Scale (out of 5):
The much anticipated Redbird has FINALLY (we say finally because it’s been in the “works” for years now) opened in the architecturally divine Vibiana Cathedral space downtown. And when we checked it out last weekend it was, to say the least, a series of events.The space is divided into 2 parts: a lounge-like area inside with couches and a few crammed tables, and a much larger courtyard dining room outside with a retractable roof that opens to the heavens above. Although we didn’t find the decor in either area to be worthy of the spectacular space, the tiles and ceiling paintings from the 1800’s Cathedral were pretty stunning throughout.
Unfortunately, it was pretty obvious that Redbird had “just opened”, and although we usually retract our claws in these instances, it was…kind of a mess.
1) Most of our drinks came out wrong (they kindly corrected them but brought the right ones out, no joke, 30 minutes later).
2) Food was served out of order, and our server suggested not easily shared plates after specifically telling us that it was better to share and we obliged.
3) Someone knocked over a beer onto our 2 guests while trying to clean the table (we prefer champagne showers, thank you very much!).
We cannot make this shit up. They did try to make up for it by bringing us complimentary champagne and 2 extra desserts, after we had specifically told them that 1/2 our table didn’t like sweets. It was loud in there, but really? We WILL give them an A for effort… and leave it at that.
Overall, we won’t be braving the downtown rush hour traffic any time soon to head back for dinner. Lunch on the other hand, we’ll have to see the menu (coming soon), make sure it’s a sunny day and wear waterproof clothing.
WHAT WE DRANK:
“Americano” – This complimentary amuse bouche wasn’t amusing any of our bouches. And we’re pretty sure we weren’t the only ones to feel that way judging by the mostly full glasses scattered on the other tables. Two words: Cough Syrup.
Housemade Tonic w/ Vodka ($12)– Tonic? Could have fooled us; tasted like fireball. Were they trying to get us blacked out? We were very confused.
Bartender’s Choice ($12)– Alex wanted vodka and they gave her tequila. Alie wanted vodka and they gave her gin. Our other friend wanted something resembling a mojito…and they pretty much just gave her a mojito. They EVENTUALLY brought us the spirit we wanted but we recommend sticking to a specialty cocktail if you plan on downing a couple throughout your meal.
WHAT WE ATE:
Avocado salad ($15) – with smoked bacon, little gems, and a buttermilk blue cheese vinaigrette, this came highly recommended by our waitress. While it didn’t reinvent the wheel appearing and tasting like a classic wedge, it was good and easy to share.
New Caledonian Shrimp ($16) – with grits, cocoa nib, and chipotle mole, we were excited to try a fancy chocolaty spin on some good ol’ shrimp n’ grits. It was good, but there was nothing fancy or chocolaty about them. The only thing spinning were our heads when we realized what we had spent to have 3 shrimp with eyes still on them stare back at us. Our waitress probably shouldn’t have recommended this 3some to a group of 4.
Bread – We know, we know, shouldn’t the bread be the first thing on our list since it starts the meal off? Well they completely forgot about it until we asked why we had bread plates and butter knives in front of us… after our first courses. However, we will say, the homemade bread rolls and cheesy nubs come in a cute sack with soft butter (you know how we feel about soft butter) and were definitely scrumptious.
Duo of Beef ($42) – Grilled New York, short rib, kale ‘croutons,’ confit potatoes, parmesan fondue. This was by far the best dish we ordered, as the meat was cooked perfectly. The kale ‘croutons’ texture resembled jello (still not quite sure how we feel about that). The confit potatoes were delish but um, at $42 is it too much to ask to get more than 3 bite-size wedges?
Chicken Pot Pie ($14) – We had to try this old-school classic reinvention as it was being shown on all of Redbird’s promotional sites. When the waitress cleared our half eaten pot of soup with bread on top, she stated “wasn’t that perfection?”. “Perfection” is a pretty strong word.
Desserts ($12 each) – Chocolate Caramel Bar, Tarte Tatin and Cashew Semifredo – The caramel bar was one of the better things we ate all night and by far the best of the 3. The other 2 had too much going on with textures, flavors and ingredients, so much so that we had no idea what we were eating or why (oh ya, because it was free).
PS – Valet is $8.50.
PPS – The cathedral and adjacent patio next door is GORGEOUS and an ideal space to rent out for a wedding, reception, or any larger gathering.
The space and menu have so much potential, we’re hoping it was just a “off night”. If you go, we would love to hear your experiences below– we’re keeping the faith that things are going to get better.