The Red Cat is Still Quite the Party

Once again, I am the last kid to the party. Once again, the party is in Chelsea. Does that mean that both I am  incredibly uncool AND that all the parties are in Chelsea?
The Red Cat has been around since 1999, when cool and gentrified Chelsea was just a twinkle in the last of the clubgoers’ eyes. Then, it made a huge splash, it made a huge splash in 2005 when Frank Bruni reviewed it, and it continues to make a huge splash by serving seasonal, local food in a decidedly unsplashy setting. 
Cozy but not at all cramped, with a few tables near the plate glass window that made the seating just perfect for people watching while we dined. Small bowls of peeled radishes up at the large, L-shaped bar made the it an inviting dining space as well.
Light and holey bread with fruity olive oil and a spicy, bubbly housemade ginger ale. Second only to that at Spice Market. Delish.
Soup of the Day-Broccoli with a cheddar toast. This was not the heavy, creamy broccoli soup I am used to(though heaven knows I love THAT kind). This was a rich but light pureed soup with the deep, unmistakable flavor of chicken broth paired against the clean, crisp taste of pureed broccoli. Sharp and salty cheddar cheese on impeccably toasted bread made a perfect pairing against the velvety dish. 
Tempura Green Beans with Spicy Mustard Sauce. YES MAMA!!! Snappy, sweet beans in a crispy, delicately oily though not greasy batter, dipped in nasal-clearing mustard sauce that had just a tinge of sweet honey. This was like bar food gone upscale and to the greenmarket. LOVE!
BLT with wilted romaine, feta cheese, dates and pepita chipotle mayonnaise. I have had BLTs. In fact, I love BLTs and order them often. NEVER have I had a BLT like this. Juicy tomato, meaty bacon and charred yet fresh tasting lettuce blended with sweet dates and sharp, salty feta that somehow added to the meatiness of the whole sandwich. The dates were SO juicy and the feta SO pungent, it was delightful with that familiar taste of a BLT. Though the pepitas (pumpkin seeds) really didn’t add much, the chipotle mayo was a zippy, smoky and creamy addition to the bread, which was similar to a Portuguese roll – soft and supple yet sturdy. This was a BLT for the ages: comforting, satisfying and interesting. 
The house made kettle chips, if a bit salty, were crispy and surely didn’t hurt my opinion of this delightful lunch.
The Blueberry-Apple Crostata with Mascarpone ice cream was as familiar as your favorite television show. Buttery, rich, decadent but not heavy pastry anchored tart and juicy blueberries, sweet, cinnamon spiced apples and creamy, vanilla flecked mascarpone ice cream that was not as sugary as it was vanilla-y. The caramel sauce was perfectly burnished and dark next to the smooth ice cream and the light and sweet fruit. It was a perfect rendition of a classic dessert.
And that’s what Red Cat is…a perfect rendition of a classic concept. Simple, seasonal food done according to the chef’s personal tastes in a relaxed atmosphere. The service is a bit lackadaisical, but not so much that it causes an issue. What is an issue is how delicious this food is. And oh, it is. Being late to the party doesn’t mean you aren’t enjoying it. In this case, it meant just the opposite.

Red Cat on Urbanspoon


  1. I had tempura-battered green beans in January for the first time. I like green beans and thought that battering them would be gilding the lily, but they were actually quite good. The batter was light – as these look to be as well. But I had them with an aioli that was a little too much. Spicy mustard sounds much better.

  2. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Justin-yes, mayo would be a little overpowering. They were so good, I totally want to make them at home now!