Last night I did something that is sadly too rare for me. I drove over to the burbs and met some friends for dinner. This particular dinner was at the relatively new and highly reputed Red Bird in Waltham.
Located on the vibrantly cosmopolitan Moody Street, Red Bird is a small and cozy welcoming restaurant. Chef Daniel Stokes who hails from the nostalgically neighborhood popular Franklin Café opened Red Bird last summer. The second I walked in the door I felt the warmth not only from the cold rainy street but from the staff who welcomed me with hearty smiles.
The restaurant is small with booths along one wall and a few open tables on the other. The restaurant area is separated by a low wall to the bar with more seating. The walls are adorned with music inspired modern art work and the lighting is coolly modern. I was seated at one of the open tables in the restaurant area facing the open kitchen.
The restaurant was full and bustling. Busy wait staff rushed around serving what looked like wonderful comfort food. Our waiter poured some filtered water from a crystal bottle and asked if I would like a cocktail while I wait for my friends. I chose a Loire Valley Chardonnay while I spent a little time perusing the enticing menu.
The menu is just one page with about five appetizers of dishes like mussels, shrimp toast and short ribs. The entrées are split between fish, meat and pasta with just two to four choices each. The perfect length for a menu.
My friends Barbara and Katie joined me and we got down to food. I had seen many steaming bowls of mussels come out of kitchen so requested that we share a bowl, which we did along with some Shrimp Toasts.
The mussels are steeped in a thick and creamy tomato broth with large chunks of salty bacon and just a touch of fennel. This amazing appetizer could have been my main with about a loaf of bread for the broth.
The shrimp toast is a tasty combination of lightly fried ground shrimp with a sweet taste of celery. Dipped into the homemade chili sauce made them even more perfect.
For my entrée, I had to have the duck confit. Duck leg cooked to confit perfection resting over sweet, chopped root vegetables with a taste of hollandaise mixed in. I cannot say enough great things about this dish. It’s probably one of the best duck confit entrées I have ever had.
Barbara relished every single bite of her grilled salmon with fried rice and a soy maple glaze. While Katie was delighted with her choice of the special of the evening a Hake with Asian slaw vegetables.
The dessert menu was placed quietly in front of us. Of course, no-one had room but the menu with its Chocolate torte, Lime Ginger Parfait and Baked Alaska seduced us into order something to share. The Chocolate Malt Torte became the winner. A layering of ganache, flourless chocolate cake and ice-cream. Need I say more. Dessert delight!
The meal ended with complimentary sweet treats from the dessert chef and an individual pot each of coffee and teas to wake us up from the food coma that was inevitably coming our way.
Throughout our evening our waiter was attentive and friendly and always there when we needed her even though it was obvious everyone was rushed off their feet. I have to say the price point is also super reasonable for such spectacular food.
There is honestly nothing negative I can say about Red Bird, except that I wish it was in my own neighborhood. This restaurant is definitely worth a 20 minute drive on the Mass Pike to it and the groan of being seriously and happily full home.
I will make every effort to back as soon as I can get there.