Red Square continues to offer thoughtful culinary creations
As one of the original anchor restaurants within Tropicana's Quarter, Red Square has established a reputation for exotic, hip, Euro-styled cuisine since opening. We visited on a packed Saturday evening and found the place great fun -- a casual atmosphere offering seriously upscale, international food at appropriate prices.
Start with this: The room, or more accurately rooms, as there are a pair of connected dining spaces, really are red.
Glowing, almost eerie, this crimson tint can be disconcerting at first, but aids in transporting you well out of the realm of typical Atlantic City casino dining. Which, after much ponderment, I've finally figured out is what Red Square's all about.
Illustrating this point were Siberian nachos ($18), a house signature item, and our first appetizer. Composed of six freshly made wonton chips garnished with shaved smoked salmon, green wasabi tobiko, wasabi cream, chives and citron caviar, the individual quality of each and every ingredient shone through nicely.
There isn't much else that's needed when fine smoked fish is a basic element in your menu strategy. That prized item, which wisely appears multiple times on Red Square's bill of fare, provides the nachos with a nice protein base upon which to build.
Seared fois gras with French toast and apples ($27) appeared on a long, narrow plate, with three separate and distinct creations. To stage left, a twin pairing of warm, sweet Granny Smith apple slices, cooked to the consistency of apple-pie filling, separated by a crusty wedge of buttery Brioche French toast, all gloriously wrapped in an equator of smoky bacon. Starring, in the middle, a thumb-size disc of decadent, beautifully handled foie, lacquered and burnished from a sudden stint in a blazing, hot sauté pan. Closing out this dignified little production, a dark brown spoonful of apple butter and several dots of reduced balsamic sat stage right. Working in the direction that the kitchen provided, we sampled the sweet, cinnamon-infused apples, crunchy bread and thick bacon first. Together, their flavors explode magnificently. Now, add in a wee bit of that succulent, caramelized fois and this is the gastronomic equivalent of an orgasm.
Beet and tomato salad ($14) brought a combination of diced red and thin sliced rounds of yellow beets, macerated onions, feta, baby greens bathed in an airy red-wine vinaigrette. By now, this place will have begun to work its magic on you, and what could possibly feel more traditionally Russian than beets, one of today's hottest culinary favorites in addition to being incredibly healthy?
Merriment is the order of the day in this faux Moscow on the Atlantic, and a playful attitude prevails among the attendees and employees alike.
"Join the Party," a logo emblazoned upon the backs of many staffers uniforms, is much more than a witty, anachronistic shout-out to the Cold War; it's a sort of call to arms. The crowd here, decidedly youthful, seems to pick up on that vibe.
Then the cuisine drops you right back to the heart of the Motherland, with salmon kulebyaka ($31), a dill-seared filet layered with puff pastry, mushrooms, asparagus and American sturgeon caviar. This deconstructed version of a very classic Russian dish was stacked, rather than rolled, which we found novel.
Rather than having to combine each and every morsel, we got to sample them on their own, then compose and direct, as we preferred, not unlike that ungodly-good fois app.
I opted for a lobster fettuccine entree ($29). Yes, fettuccine in a Russian themed restaurant, what of it? This bowl was laden with Maine lobster chunks in a mascarpone cream sauce, covered with a benevolent grating of black truffles.
Riding atop was a tender, poached lobster claw, standing at attention like some sort of food sentry. The sweetened cream sauce, ribbony fettucine and dark, earthy truffles, elevated this far beyond the realm of ordinary pasta.
“[Cuba Libre] didn’t want to be in nightlife anymore,” says Kauffman. “They just opened in Washington [DC] and Orlando and will soon be opening in Boston and Chicago, and really just wanted to get out of nightlife in general. So they offered [32 Degrees] to us and we just jumped on it.”
Two and half decades prior to the Atlantic City depicted in Boardwalk Empire, our region’s original dining dynasty began. Harry “Dock” Dougherty opened the doors of his eponymous seafood house, Dock’s Oyster House, at 2405 Atlantic Ave., in 1897.
While the overseas nations sending students abroad tends to change occasionally, the styles and musical preferences in nightclubs have grown more analogous — most likely due to Internet access making dance music more accessible worldwide.
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