one red door

You have probably heard by now that the chef from Downtown 140, Shawn Monday, has left and moved up the street to open One Red Door in the former Vue space. I was excited about this move and went a few weeks ago on behalf on Metromix to check it out.

I have been to Downtown 140 a handful of times and genuinely liked it. In fact, I really liked it. I thought chef Monday’s menu was fun and his food flavorful and fresh. That’s why I was so excited to try his new place and had high hopes.

Perhaps I built this place up too much in my mind before I ever stepped foot inside.  I thought my meal would be perfect and wow me with every bite. And when it didn’t, I was quickly let done. Now let me be clear – everything we ate was good. Nicely presented, served promptly and as described. But with the exception of one dish, nothing was great. A perfect atmosphere (truly – they did an amazing job with the redesign, my kind of space), and I especially liked the menu and how it’s sectioned (good prices, too), but felt the food fell short. But I’m not worried and we will most definitely go back. Because I know this chef can be great. I’ve had great several times when he was around the corner. So I am going to assume he was either MIA that night or chalk it up to opening month learnings.

Here’s part of my review, or you can read the full story here.

Visitors to Hudson’s First and Main have a new dining option to visit in between shopping and strolling the quaint streets of this city. In the former Vue space, Shawn Monday, former chef and co-owner of neighboring Downtown 140, heads around the corner to open One Red Door alongside his wife, Tiffany. The focus of their new venture will be reasonably-priced, chef-driven comfort food.

Food: From just a little hungry, to shared dishes among friends to a main meal all to yourself, this restaurant has something for nearly every appetite.

Start off with bites—literally a bite (or two) of nine different dishes. We recommend the beautifully-presented and wonderfully-tasty Pacific yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño salsa ($5.50) or the chorizo-stuffed date wrapped in bacon with a smoky tomato sauce ($3.50). A very similar version of this starter wowed us at the chef’s former kitchen, but this one, though worth a try, was lacking that strong bacon flavor and smokiness we were craving.

We skipped over the crusts, but the poached lobster pizza with spinach, pearl onion confit and fontina caught our eye alongside the duck pizza with figs, goat cheese and port reduction. Pizzas range from $10-$14 with a handful of add-ons.

More traditional-sized appetizers are found under shared. A duo of steamed scallops (tomato saffron and fennel situated next to Belgian beer and frites; $9), disappointed the table. Each portion was lacking distinctive flavor and we opted not to finish. A more satisfying dish was the pulled Applewood smoked shoulder dumplings atop apple, carrot and blue cheese slaw ($8). Really nice flavor all around and texture—especially the slaw.

For dinner we picked the whiskey brined Berkshire pork chop each caramelized with pork jus and a side of mac-n-cheese ($19.50). We also added a side order of asparagus tempura and peanut sauce ($6). By description alone, each of these dishes should have had us still thinking about—and craving—them weeks later. But we’re not. Though the pork chop was a nice dish, it was just that, nice. A good dinner but not great.

At Downtown 140, Monday continually impressed guests with his creative use of ingredients and memorable pairings. Therefore, the expectation is reasonably set for his tempting cuisine to shine on in his new home. While some of the dishes we sampled impressed our taste buds, others fell short of the expectations we had for this evening.

Décor: A few months ago a completely different restaurant and atmosphere was housed in this space, yet, unless you were there for yourself you might never know. In short, the atmosphere is beautiful and very well done—think contemporary rustic.

Insider tip: Look for Flip Side (gourmet burgers, sides and sandwiches plus a lengthy craft beer list) to open right next door in the near future. Monday will be manning this kitchen as well.

Bottom line: Though off to a slow start, this chef has proven himself at Downtown 140 several times. Therefore, we’re convinced his take on modern comfort food will flourish at One Red Door (hopefully sooner rather than later!).

6 Comments

  1. Wendy
    Posted October 5, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree about the space – it’s really warm and inviting. I actually loved that asparagus tempura appy with peanut sauce. The duck pizza was good too. The crust was pretty ideal. We got burned on the shishito peppers, though. They were supposed to be mild for the most part, but there were a few wild ones in there. The waitstaff was unsympathetic to our obvious extreme discomfort. I still look forward to another visit.

  2. Posted October 7, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I have been twice now and have been very impressed, especially considering that during the first few months of a new restaurant there is a lag waiting for everyone to get on the same page.
    I’ve had two pizzas, amazing crust. For bites, dates, sashimi, and a seasonal squash soup were spectacular. The wings were good, but not as good as Greenhouse. Charcuterie was pretty good, but it’s not for everyone.
    Myself and 2 friends could not pass up the Hanger Steak w/jus, which was great. It came with the delicious fries and some over-seasoned brocollini, which was the only thing I have had there that I didn’t eat all of. I also had the mac & cheese w/brisket but was saddened to learn that the brisket had BBQ sauce on it, unlike the delicious dry preparation that they served at the Taste of Hudson.
    Wine is affordable, great beer selection and the decor is very hip, while upscale, reminiscent of a large city chophouse.

  3. joe
    Posted October 7, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    My wife and I split the scallops with braised veal and the short ribs. Both were really good. The calamari portion was pretty small, but it was good. Overall it was a really good meal. I think the menu has recently changed because I checked it out when I made reservations and the entrees were completely different when we went.

  4. mad maxx
    Posted October 8, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    How could you review a restaurant on the fourth day it is was open to the public? You went on Sept. 10th according to your FaceBook page. How can you give a quality review of a place on its first week. Im not sure what industry standards are about how long an establishment is open before it is reviewed, but I have to believe it is longer than a week.

  5. Michelle V
    Posted October 8, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    @ Mad Maxx -Keeping track of my FB posts? OK… Actually, as I have said and posted about numerous times, you can give a quality review and it’s completely fair and expected from Day 1. If a restaurant is open for business – and charging full/regular prices, then it is perfectly ok to judge them. If a chef/management is not sure about the quality of food or just not ready, then they shouldn’t open and charge people full price. I have zero issues reviewing a restaurant after opening day. That being said, the one area I do feel it’s ok to cut them plenty of slack is on the service. I get that can take a while for staff to get on board and the front and back of the house to coodinate perfectly. But still, even if waiting, that plate of food should still be great – as great as the chef would want it whether it’s day 1 or day 100.

    As for One Red Door, while I don’t know the chef, I have tried his food on several occasions – and have always been quite happy. I think he’s very talented and that is why I said I think it was an off night and perhaps he wasn’t working or something. And that’s also why I will be back and encouraged readers to as well in the review.

    Regardless, I will always give a place at least two chances. Unless something terrible happens to make me never want to go back. It’s only fair and we all have bad days from time to time.

    But back to you initial comment, you should also keep in mind that we all have a voice now and people are sharing their opinions before they even leave their table, thanks to Twitter and Facebook. We are in different times and me personally, I think all of it is pretty exciting – for diners and chefs.

  6. Posted October 12, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Agree with your review. I wasn’t overly impressed either. I too have eaten at Downtown 140 several times and was always happy with my dinner. But One Red Door did not seem to thrill me like Downtown 140. I ordered the Berkshire Pork as well. While I loved the chop, the mac and cheese reminded me of mediocre version of Michael Symon’s mac and cheese. It was served with some incredibly bitter greens.

    My husband had one of the pizzas – and that was very good. Loved the thin crust – very tasty. Even tastier after it came to room temperature.

    One annoying part of the meal was the lack of plates. We ordered a few of the bites to start – the figs, the olives and I believe the pot stickers. Now, they only give you one side plate to eat these with. This is the same plate they put your bread on. After I had eaten my figs, my plate was covered in the smoked tomato sauce – not exactly a good mix for the asian flavors of the pot sticker. And I should also note that my husband, a huge fan of olives, was not a fan of the warmed olives in the slightest.

    Service was slow as well. But, it was only the second or third week.