Red Card Cafe – San Diego Restaurant Week Preview
San Diego Restaurant Week is here yet again! SDRW kicked off yesterday on January 15th. Last Saturday night I was invited to dine at Red Card Cafe to try out their SDRW menu. Let’s check it out!
Red Card Cafe took over the location of the former Kitchen 4140. Jake and I visited Kitchen 4140 quite a few time and were sad to see it’s closure but were happy to find out that a new restaurant had taken over the old spot.
Funny enough, this was our first time dining INSIDE this building. Usually we sat out on the patio! The interior is a blogger’s dream since they have GREAT lighting inside. Ha!
Red Card Cafe is offering both lunch and dinner menus for San Diego Restaurant Week. The dinner menu is quite generous. You get three courses for a mere $25.
We started out by sharing a glass of Red Card Cafe’s Housemade Lemonade [$3]. Jake made a face after one sip but I got excited after one sip and declared the lemonade was for me! It was a tiny bit on the tart side but I liked that. I thought the lemon flavor really comes through. Quite delicious!
For my first course, I opted to try the Shrimp Beignets. I almost went for the Misto (which had shrimp and calamari) but I wanted to try something different and the beignets fit the bill. I had never tried savory beignets before. A normal order is 5, but for San Diego Restaurant Week they will likely give out a smaller portion (I’m just special).
The shrimp beignets have shrimp, corn, chive, and zucchini mixed into the fluffy beignet batter. They’re kind of like shrimp fritters, but with a softer exterior. The inside was creamy (but cooked all the way) and had a wonderful flavor. I wished it had a little bit more shrimp in them, but I loved them regardless. It comes with a side of tartar sauce which thankfully didn’t have pickles in it – the tartar sauce tasted just a like cool creamy dipping sauce – more like a chive ranch dip rather that a tartar sauce. YUM!
Jake went for the only non-seafood appetizer on the menu which was the Mini Wedge Salad. I know that Jake isn’t really into blue cheese so I was concerned for him but he insisted on getting it as is. He strives to order things they way that chefs make them, even if it has stuff he traditionally doesn’t like on top. Good for him since this was a damn tasty salad! The blue cheese wasn’t too overpowering – it was a more mild and creamy blue cheese and was put into a housemade dressing (spot on!). I got to eat some of it and I loved the flavor of everything with creamy avocado. This salad good way to start off a meal if you ask me!
Our main courses came out shortly after. I opted to try the Fusilli Bolognese. The bolognese was a mixture of ground veal, pork, and beef. It’s quite a meaty sauce – it almost felt like I was eating pasta with chili (the kind of chili without beans). The sauce it savory and rich and the first few bites I felt like it needed a tad more seasoning on top. But the more I ate it, the more I felt that wasn’t true after all. The savory sauce grew on me and I quite enjoyed it overall. Of course I was already getting full after eating beignets and salad and ended up having to take half of my pasta home but I still enjoyed what I could.
Jake got the Steak Frite which was a Bavette steak (or flap steak) with french fries and a side of chimichurri sauce. I had a couple of bites of the steak which was a nice medium rare. Jake and I both thought the steak needed a little bit more seasoning but that overall steak was quite nice. The chimichurri helps to boost up the flavor so I liked the steak dipped in the sauce, but Jake isn’t really a fan of chimichurri. The steak fries were nice and crisp as well.
Overall quite a nice meal! And we’re not even done yet because there is also DESSERT.
I felt pretty full at this point but I always joke with Jake that I have “dessert stomach” and can always fit a little bit of sweets into me. In return, Jake always jokes he has “pizza stomach”. Ha!
Jake’s dessert choice was the Seasonal Tart which was made with Pears that evening. There’s a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, a chocolate drizzle, and a touch of pistachio on top. The pears are cut into cubes and still retain a bit of a crunch for a nice texture. I thought the tart dough was slightly underdone as it tasted just a little doughy to me, but the filling was really nice. I only had a couple of bites and left Jake to finish this one off on his own. He really liked the pear tart. Usually you see like apple or something and Jake isn’t really a fan of apples, but pears in tart he likes!
I went for the Pot de Chocolat. It comes in a cute little glass jar topped with a lemon verbena whipped cream, some brittle, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Now, I didn’t KNOW this was cayenne pepper at first and I kept trying to figure out what the flavor was and why I felt a little burn in the back of my throat! It’s just a small touch though that transforms the dessert to give it that little extra “oomph”.
The chocolate was silky smooth and quite thick. Eating the chocolate alone yielded a different flavor than eating it with the flavored cream and brittle. The cream and brittle added extra flavor and texture that I really enjoyed and I ate EVERY. SINGLE. BITE. I know I said I was full but I couldn’t resist getting every little bit out of that pot and into my mouth!
While not everything was mind blowing at Red Card Cafe, I have to say that Jake and I quite enjoyed our meal here. We also felt it was a great deal for the price of $25 and there are quite a few options for you to enjoy here. Please consider visiting them for San Diego Restaurant Week which runs now through Sunday, January 22nd.
Red Card Cafe
4140 Morena Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92117
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Red Card Cafe in conjunction with San Diego Restaurant Week. Our food and drinks were complimentary. I was not further compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.