Menu Please: Gironda’s Blooms Under New Ownership

Apparently no one in Redding had ever heard the phrase, “Location, location, location” when the old Ramona’s Mexican Restaurant opened. Or maybe it’s just that the edge-of-downtown location was pretty good way back when. There was a  lively, uh, bar scene and, robust, uh, personal entertainment industry. And of course there was no Mt. Shasta Mall or much of anything in Enterprise, so most people lived and shopped and dined out downtown, or close to it.

After Ramona’s closed – sometime in the late 1970s, M. de Joie thinks – it became a steak house called Grady’s, which did Okay (the Joe Clubs incident aside) and there may have been another similar steak house after that.  In 2002 Jim and Penny Gironda opened their eponymous Italian restaurant, which was bought by Deja Vu’s Karline Niver last year.

Niver has brought back lunch service,- making sense in West Redding, which has a lot of white-collar professionals but not so many sit-down lunch spots. The interior design is sleeker and more polished, while the menu has undergone a slight revamping. Service is friendly and helpful, though once in a while it seems as though not all waitstaff has their signals straight about who is waiting on which table – not enough to be problematic, but slightly confusing.

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Crispy calamari appetizer, $11.99

Femme de Joie loves calamari but has to admit that most of the time one restaurant’s version is indistinguishable from another’s. Amico del Signore has always been blasé at best about it. But the extra-crunchy calamari accompanied by a spicy roasted tomato cream sauce is much better than most, with crisp breading and just enough heat to elevate this above the average. It made a fan out of A. Del Signore.

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House salad, $4.99

You never know if a simple green salad will just be poured out of a giant Costco bag with some bottled dressing. Gironda’s salad is something to look forward to, with house-made dressings and a nice mix of fresh vegetables and greens. We would gladly order a giant bowl of this if it was on the menu.

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Roasted apple pizza, small $15.99, large $18.99,

Apple and arugula on a pizza? Why not? Pizza is a suitable vehicle for all kinds of toppings, and it works well here. Enhanced with gorgonzola (a great accompaniment to apples and arugula), salty proscuitto and sweet caramelized onions and roasted garlic, this is a winning combination of flavors and textures on a crisp crust.  Warning: one dedicated eater can finish an entire large pizza with ease. Just so you know.

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Catch of the day, shrimp picatta on linguine, $24.99

Femme de Joie loved the sharp lemony caper sauce on the shrimp and the pasta. Both were cooked perfectly and were a nice change from overly-buttery scampi presentations. The carrots were not quite cooked and not quite raw, so picking them up to eat seemed like the only possible solution.

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Pasta special, $19.99 – Beef Stroganoff with smoked Gouda sauce and New York steak slices on linguine

Smoked cheeses are one of those food that always sound tempting but which M. de Joie usually finds disappointing, a cheap way to cover up bland cheese. However, the judicious use of smoked Gouda in this fanciful version of Stroganoff was the right touch to give the creamy sauce a little oomph and character. The beefy taste of tender strips of New York steak were a good match for the slight smokiness.

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Catch of the day, Salmon on fettucine, $21.99

The waitress thought the salmon was a 6-ounce cut but it was more like a 4-ounce cut when it arrived. Moist and flaky, it could have done without the bit of cheese on top, but was still enjoyable with garlicky fettucine. Simply cooked fresh green beans were a pleasant side vegetable.

Femme de Joie likes what the new owner is doing at Gironda’s, from the pared-down, sophisticated decor to the updated wine list. Overall service has been good to exemplary; the food is very good and becoming more innovative while still holding on to the classics.  While it isn’t quite a white-tablecloth sort of place, Gironda’s is nevertheless a good place to take a date while casual enough to be comfortable and relaxed. If you haven’t been in a few years, check it out.

Gironda’s Restaurant and Bar, 1100 Center Street at Trinity, Redding CA 96001. 530-244-7663. Open Monday through Thursday, 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Friday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM; Saturday 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Sunday 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Parking lot. Full bar. Cash and cards; no checks. Vegetarian and vegan options. Website at www.girondasitalian.com or follow them on Facebook.

Femme de Joie
Femme de Joie's first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.
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7 Responses

  1. Beverly Stafford says:

    We had breakfast at Deja Vu and while chatting with the owner, learned that she had purchased Gironda’s.  The subject turned to the vagrants/vandals/panhandlers downtown and what a problem they are.  She had written an apparently scathing account on her Facebook page of what it was like being a downtown business owner.  Although she didn’t name the respondent, she said one of the city council members wrote a response chiding her for her message and saying something to the effect that it’s really no so bad.  HUH?  If that’s the feeling of the city fathers/mothers, there will never be a solution.

    Nice write-up about Gironda’s.   I really like supporting local, non-chain restaurants.

  2. Thanks for the review. My wife and I live about 35 miles outside of town and don’t eat out much, but Gironda’s has been our favorite place to go for anniversary dinners and other special occasions. We haven’t been to Gironda’s since the new owners acquired it, and we’ve had some hesitation about trying it. We loved Jimmy G! After reading your review, I’m sure we’ll try it by Thanksgiving!

    It sounds like the picatta sauce is as good as it ever was. I never liked capers until I had them in Gironda’s picatta sauce. Now I love them! And the single best meal I’ve ever had anywhere was a stuffed portabello special they ran one night. To die for!

    I’m looking forward to going back now!

    Thanks again for restoring my confidence in Gironda’s.

  3. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Those pictures and the review have me looking forward to giving Gironda’s another try (after a wholly unsatisfactory experience about five years ago).

    If anyone knows what “the Joe Clubs incident” refers to, my curiosity is definitely piqued.  It sounds a little bit like an obituary that includes, “He had a great record of public service, except for the unfortunate Girl Scout incident.”

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear Steve,

      Some 25-ish years ago there was a sign at a roadside business on highway 273 between Redding and Anderson that read “Joe Clubs.” The owner of that business stepped into Grady’s one night with a gun and Did Himself In, as they say.  Femme de Joie was not present when this occurred and got the information second- or third-hand so can’t vouch for its accuracy whatsoever, but it’s certainly stuck in her mind all these years.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Femme de Joie

       

  4. Sally says:

    I had not been to Gironda’s since it had been sold, but an International Section of AAUW chose Gironda’s for its last gathering.  We were in the back room.  Two waitresses handled our group expertly from serving ordered wine, to an array of entrees.  Soup or salad was served with entrée if ordered.  The food was delicious!  The service was excellent and it was decided by the group we would be pleased to go there for our future meetings!

  5. Bruce Ross says:

    Also, the lunch lasagna is fantastic, if you hanker for a helping of your go-to comfort food.

  6. cody says:

    Not familiar with the new ownership, but – a couple of years ago we had a birthday party on a Sunday and we had around 5o+ people there, in that back room.  The restaurant really went out of their way to make it a pleasant experience for all.  The food choices were great – a few appetizers, salads, and I think 3 different main course, and there was plenty. They had staff on hand to make sure that everything went seamless, and for serving beverages.  The overall cost for this event was very reasonable for what we received.  I certainly hope that the new owners kept some of the individuals around that worked this event.