Food Review: Redfire Grill & Steakhouse, Hockessin DE
On a recent date night, Lady Aravan took me to a place we hadn’t been before, Redfire Grill & Steakhouse. I love beef like hippies love patchouli, so I was eager to go and yet apprehensive at the same time. I cook steak a lot. I am good at it. Many times I’ve gone to a restaurant and ordered steak and gotten an underseasoned, or overseasoned, piece of meat at such an exorbitant price that it makes me well up in righteous fury. I am an overcritical judge of what I like, and when a place burns myeverloving steak and calls it “char” like I should pay extra for it, I can barely resist the urge to take their imitation crystal candleholders and set the place on fire. So, did I want to set Redfire on, well, fire?
The place itself was nice inside, not overly pretentious or stuffy but done in an attractive modern style. The hostess was polite and forgettable, which I suppose is appropriate. Our waiter was very good and helpful and also otherwise forgettable, which is fine by me because in my opinion as a former server, a server’s job is to bring attention to the food and wine and the rest and shut the hell up and get out of the way. We started with a bottle of white wine – and forget you and your “red wine goes with beef” attitude, because I hate wine snobs more than I hate food snobs – and bread. The wine was good, so kudos to the vintner, but OH MY GOD THIS BREAD IS DIVINE. I’m not a big bread bread person, not like Lady Aravan especially, but I was amazed at how good the bread was. I was hungry and all, but it was complex and tasty and crusty with a warm center that’s making me salivate right now.
For entrees, I had the 16 oz porterhouse medium rare with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. Why yes, I DID say Yukon Gold! The hot new thing for food snobs is to trump the flavor and specialness of Yukon Freaking Gold potatoes. They tasted like mashed potatoes, and were good, but the only difference being the slight yellowish-brown color of the potato makes it an irrelevant point. Anyway, my steak was perfectly cooked, well seasoned and seared – not charred, so pay attention chefs – and served with an absolutely delicious house steak sauce. The sauce was so good I almost ran my finger inside the container to get the rest of it, a testament to its flavor and the effect two big glasses of wine can have.
Lady Aravan had the New York strip, medium well, along with the mashed potatoes. She enjoyed it, although I would have had problems with the additional charring her more-done steak received. Sear is great; black dusty carbon on my tongue, not so much. For dessert, she had creme brulee while I had Heath Bar bread pudding. The desserts were very good as well, if not particularly special.
The place is pricey, but not exorbitant. It was about a buck twenty for the two of us, including the $27 bottle of wine, so it’s expensive enough to keep the college students out unless they are with their parents, which can be a very good thing. Bottom line: I definitely recommend it. If you are looking for a good place to impress a date without looking like you’re trying to impress them, go there. Yes, you have to put up with the people of Hockessin while you dine, but it does beat the college students. Go there, get the steak, enjoy it. You’ll be glad you did.
Update: I decided to remove some of the harsher language from the review. I had just gotten done with a couple of incredibly pretentious food articles right before I wrote it, and the irritation I felt from reading the piffle oozed into my rather irreverant review. I didn’t want anyone to mistake my profanity as a slap against the restaurant, which cooks an amazing steak.