June 2nd, 2008

First impressions: Red Light

Red Light

Now that the dust has settled — somewhat — at this newcomer to Biscayne Boulevard, D and I finally made our way out to try it Saturday night. Housed at Motel Blu, chef Kris Wessel’s Red Light oozes cool with its red walls, beige booths, bright orange bar stools, dim, red lighting and quirky view. Our booth overlooked the river and the neon purple signs of Black Gold, the strip club across it. No manatees were in sight, but the colorful crowd made for more interesting watching.

The menu, which centers around local ingredients, is small and, I believe, still a work in progress. Seafood dominates, and following what’s now a common trend, several of the dishes are available in half portions. Prices are reasonable. The most expensive item on the menu at $22 was the full portion of lobster sous vide — a method of cooking in vacuum sealed plastic bags at low temperatures for an extended period of time (think Hung in Top Chef). This, our waiter explained, retains the integrity of the ingredients.

To get a little taste of more, D and I opted to order three half portions and a side. Our waiter sold us on the barbecue shrimp, which he said was their most popular offering. We also ordered smoked spare ribs, the lobster sous vide and a side of tomatoes and squash.

It was an interesting meal. The lobster was tender and paired nicely with the citrusy juice in which it was cooked, though it was a bit of a tease — I could’ve used a little more lobster. I had heard that the dish was served table side from the plastic bag. For us, the plate arrived assembled to the table but our waiter came and squeezed out the remaining cooking liquid from the bag into my plate. It’s not very glamorous, but it may be that if they went from pouring all the contents of the bag at your table to just some sauce, eventually the bag may stay in the kitchen. Honestly, it didn’t bother me. (See Wessel preparing the lobster sous vide.)

The shrimp were fresh and coated in a deep brown barbecue sauce that had a nice kick to it. In case you absolutely love the sauce, Wessel adds some bread for dipping. The ribs had a deep, rich flavor but they didn’t stand out as much. Oh, and did I mention the beers? The selection is limited but interesting. We sampled a Wolaver’s Organic Pale Ale. Didn’t take a close look at the wines. The place inspired more beer or cocktail drinking to me.

Other menu items that piqued my interest were the preserved lemons, tomatoes and shrimp, the fish of the day (on Saturday it was mutton snapper) and the peach-watermelon sorbet. But we chose a light and delicious bread pudding with blackberries and dollop of homemade ice cream for dessert.

I say we’ll be back for more tasting …

Red Light
7700 Biscayne Blvd.
305.757.7773.

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One Response to “First impressions: Red Light”

  1. Hello. I’m moving to Miami next month for school. The first night my roomates and I want to go out to a nice restaurant that is not too pricey for us college students. What would you recommend?
    Thanks, Marie

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