consumed on 9/29/05

In writing this post, it struck me how ridiculous the name of this restaurant is: Red House Beer and Wine Shoppe and Tapas Bar. For the sake of staving off carpal tunnel another year I’ll refer to it as “RHBWSTB”. On second thought, let’s just make that “Red House.”

Red House is hard to find. And if you follow Mapquest’s directions, you will end up at the airport. Trust me. Through a stroke of luck, we managed to find Renton. Through a stroke of genius, we found a red house, which just happened to be the red house we were looking for.

Red House’s name says it all (and then some); it’s in a red house, they sell beer and wine, they serve tapas. What I wouldn’t have guessed is that you have to physically go pick out the beer and wine you want to drink with dinner. The catch is that the wine selections are stored in the dining area—and there isn’t much room to maneuver.

We wanted champagne, but the bubbly section was wedged into a corner behind an occupied table. My conversation went a little like this: “Excuse me ma’am, I’m not grabbing your husband’s ass, I’m just reaching for this bottle that happens to be located near his rear end.” I retrieved the bottle, brought it back upstairs, waited for our server to return, then handed it to him for chilling. I assumed that Red House would have one of those rapid cooling thingies, but no. Thirty minutes later we were drinking slightly less warm champagne.

I’m sure that some (or even most) people would find this system charming or quaint, but I’m just not one of those people. I’m too pragmatic to find it anything other than inefficient, and therefore annoying. But the menu looked good, so I turned my attention elsewhere.

The list of tapas was fairly large, so it was a good thing we had a large party; I think we ordered one of almost everything on the menu:

Red House Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese ($6)
Farmers Market Caprese Salad ($7.50)
Warm Wild Mushroom Salad with Pancetta and Goat Cheese ($8)
Fried Artichoke Hearts with Caper Garlic Aioli ($7.95)
Side Order of Grilled Rustic Bread ($2)
Lamb Meatballs w/ Smoked Paprika Tomato Sauce ($7.50)
Chicken Kebabs with Saffron Rice ($7.50)
Red House Meat Platter ($9.50)
Clams with Garlic, Lemongrass & Coconut Milk ($8)
Hot and Spicy Garlic Shrimp ($7.50)
Chipotle Deviled Eggs ($4.95)
Yam Fries ($4.50)
Jamaican Spiced Chicken with Pineapple Salsa ($9.95)
Beef Souvlaki with Pita and Cucumber Sauce ($8.50)
Crab Pasta ($12.95)

I would give the food a solid “Good” rating. Nothing was great or outstanding, but everything was reasonably priced and Red House doesn’t skimp on portions; these were the first tapas I’ve ever had where each plate looked more like an entire meal.

Would I make the drive out to Renton to eat there again? Probably not. If Red House were in Seattle would I eat there again? Maybe. Would I have a different opinion if they didn’t make you hunt for your wine? Probably. Does that mean I’m just incredibly lazy? Uh… no comment.

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