Before I left, my parents took me out for a special dinner at a restaurant none of us had tried yet, The Red Onion Restaurant and Bar in Woodstock, NY- about a 20 minute drive from Saugerties. We knew before hand that the prices were a bit higher than we would normally aim to spend on a meal out, but we were willing to splurge for the special occasion.
The Red Onion’s building is a beautiful brick house with a white wraparound porch, very fitting of upstate New York. The interior is just as lovely as the exterior. The walls that are not brick are a deep and textured burnt orange. Hanging all throughout the restaurant is superb black and white photography. The lighting is dim and the rooms look elegant and sharp, just like the wait staffs who were dressed in white buttoned shirts with black ties. The only setback was that it was a bit chilly inside.
Almost immediately after we sat down at our table, we were brought a wooden bowl filled with a sliced baguette and butter. It was good quality bread but I would have enjoyed it more if it was warm. The Red Onion’s menu is always changing and reprinted daily allowing for use of fresh ingredients. We opted to order the roasted beet salad as a shared appetizer. I got the roasted salmon with crab and asparagus spaetzle for my main dish. My dad ordered the roasted duck breast with carrots and creamy cabbage and my mom got the house made ravioli stuffed with goat and ricotta cheeses with arugula, mushrooms, and truffle oil.
All of us agreed that the roasted beet salad was the highlight of the meal. Roasted red beets were thinly sliced and tossed with grapefruit slices, red onion, shaved fennel and topped with ricotta salata, mint, and citrus vinaigrette. It was light and refreshing, and just big enough for the three of us to share.
Our main dishes, while certainly good, did not blow us away. Both my dad’s duck and my salmon were cooked to our requested temperatures (I did like that they asked me for a temp for the salmon. Many places do not and it is often cooked more than I like), however neither had anything that stood out about them. They were fine, but not exciting.
The same was true for my mom’s ravioli. Everything seemed to land on one note. It was tasty, but not as exciting as the multidimensional beet salad. Also, we all agreed that the dishes relied too much on butter, cheeses, and other fats to provide their flavor. A pop of citrus to lighten things up would have gone a long way.
Due to the celebration of my trip, my mom and I did decide to order dessert. She ordered the coconut tuile “cannoli” with a passion fruit filling and almond joy ice cream. I opted for the spiced red wine poached pears with lemon mascarpone semifreddo and candied almonds. Both were excellent. The coconut tuile was lighter than a traditional cannoli shell, which I preferred. It didn’t overpower the cream, which was a great balance between sweet and creamy. I loved the poached pears. The wine they were poached in infused a great spiced flavor that still let the pear sweetness come through. The semifreddo was good as well, although it was too hard to truly be a semifreddo. I would have classified it as a sherbet.
Overall, I was glad I got to experience eating at the Red Onion. The food was good and I enjoyed dressing up and being in a more sophisticated environment. However, if I did not manage to make a return visit to the Red Onion, I would be okay with it. I would rather spend the money one meal here costs and spend it on something that excites me more.
The Red Onion Restaurant & Bar
1654 Rt. 212 at Glasco Turnpike