Monday, May 26, 2014

First Taste: Red Light

Riverstrone Slush Ice Wine with Aperol,
Seasonal Nectar, Shaved River Stone Ice and Winter Fruit
I am not ashamed to admit that the first thing I do when I'm handed a menu at a restaurant is look at the desserts. I will definitely judge a restaurant by the desserts they offer. If the desserts are not listed on the same menu as the dinner menu, I don't go as far as immediately asking the waiter for a dessert menu, but I wait in suspense, thinking of the dessert menu to come throughout my meal. At Red Light, which recently opened at 1401 R St NW, there is technically no dessert menu because desserts (and cocktails) are THE menu. Since I've always believed dessert and cocktails are the most important part of my meals, I have to believe Red Light, a cocktail & dessert bar, was opened just for me.

We were recently invited to try several of Red Light's cocktails and desserts. I arrived to Red Light directly after work, so yes, I had cocktails and dessert for dinner, and I would happily do so again. If you are more responsible than me, however, and like to eat real food for dinner, than you are welcome to dine at any of 14th St's other restaurants. Just save room for dessert at Red Light!

Irish Goodbye Irish Whiskey, Absinthe, Rich Espresso,
Raw Sugar and Wilder Bros Irish Cream with Star Anise
I sampled four of the fourteen cocktails at Red Light. The Irish Goodbye turns the Irish Car Bomb in to a long lasting drink. 

My favorite of the four drinks was the Peepshow, made of Genever, Pimms, Cucumber, Darjeeling black tea and Wilder Bros ginger beer. Another guest at my table commented, "This has to be healthy, right?" It definitely looks and tastes like it could be sold in the line of a juice cleanse company. If only this drink could actually be sold in a to-go bottle.

In between cocktails we were offered Meyer Lemon sorbet to cleanse our palette. Yes, I was given sugar to cleanse my palette. Red Light is really like an adult Candy Land brought to life.

Black & Tan Donuts pale ale beignets, stout-chocolate filling
Now for the desserts. My favorite drink easily stood out to me, but it was much harder for me to pick a standout dessert. Donuts like the Black & Tan Donuts make me realize that I don't need a fancily decorated donut, I just need simple well made donuts that are piping hot. A little beer added to the mixture doesn't hurt though.

Mexican Chocolate Tart cajeta, house-made fluff, 
cacao nib chantilly
The Mexican Chocolate Tart was the favorite dessert for 99% of the people at my table, as I was the only one who chose another dessert as my favorite. Even though I didn't also choose this dessert as my favorite, I can confirm it is a definite must-have dessert from Red Light's menu. The filling of the chocolate tart was what I want the chocolate frosting on my cupcakes and cakes to taste like, but I sadly accept the fact my chocolate frosting will never match the texture or flavors of the chocolate in this Mexican Tart.

Goat's Cheese Custard lake anna honey, crispy quinoa,
 pineapple threeway
What was my favorite dessert? The Goat's Cheese Custard. I will fully disclose that I will choose fruit flavors over chocolate flavors 100% of the time. I loved the dessert's lightness. I hate when I just can't make room for dessert after a satisfying dinner, but I could always make room for this dessert. Plus, even though I'm sure the dessert has just as much sugar as all the other desserts on the menu, I feel less guilty for eating it. Did you see the ingredients? It's made with quinoa, goat cheese, and pineapple! This could substitute dinner, right?

Red Light opens Monday-Friday at 4pm, and Saturday-Sunday at 12 pm.

Red Light on Urbanspoon

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