Red Dirt Couture

Red Fire Love

Red Fire Love

By Laura Rogers/Red Dirt Couture

My husband and I love a laid back dinner and movie date just as much as the next couple. However, this past Valentine’s Day we decided to change up our standard evening out and try something new. We had heard about a new restaurant in town and thought we might throw on something a little classier than our usual date night attire and see what the fuss was about.We knew the Red Fire Grille was going to be a special experience as soon as we set foot in the historic building where it is located. The Redlands Hotel is an elegant structure built in 1914 that once housed visitors arriving by rail to Palestine, Texas.  The trendy, urban backdrop of the Red Fire Grill is dramatically juxtaposed with historical architecture of the Redlands Hotel.

Our experience began with a warm welcome at the door. The ambiance of the newly redecorated space was exquisite, and the attention to detail transported us out of east Texas and into a breathtaking urban hotspot. The hostess tucked us into a romantic corner table and provided us with an extensive wine list to ponder while we settled in for a delightful evening.

The unfussy creativity of the food dazzled us from the first small plates. The grilled flatbread with roasted garlic, tomato, basil and mozzarella was warm, complex, and inviting. A bowl of fire roasted red pepper soup proved to be perfectly prepared to a creamy consistency that was amplified by the tang of fresh red peppers.

Our entrees continued to excite with the same balance of flash and familiarity. Spicy chicory pan roasted Maple Leaf Farms duck with sweet potato hash was falling-apart tender beneath a miraculously crisp mahogany skin. Grilled asparagus and roasted garlic demi-glace completed the dish. A beautifully grilled filet proved to be both earthy and luxurious, and was elevated even more by a dollop of Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.

Most desserts, even the best restaurants, can feel sweetly safe and mundane. At the Red Fire Grille, however, Chef Christian Mailloux showed us just as much creativity as what came before. The Lavender Crème Brule was a wonderful and romantic twist to an already fabulous desert. Presented beautifully, this creamy masterpiece was sealed to perfection by a caramelized sugar topping. The bread pudding put other, heavier versions to shame with its warm pieces of bread nestled in a warm whiskey sauce.

The chef personally visited our table once our appetites were sated with his culinary masterpieces to extend a warm and friendly thank you for our patronage. We were left feeling that we were the ones indebted to him! From start to finish, Chef Christian Mailloux’s kitchen delivered real artistry while never forgetting that its first job was to simply be delicious.

Even with Valentine’s Day in the past, you can plan a high-end celebration or a dining adventure, too. This destination is not for those seeking down home country cooking. The Red Fire Grille is an escape from all things familiar and can only be described as an unforgettable experience.

The Red Fire Grille accepts reservations Wednesday through Sunday from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Visit their website for more information.

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