Two of Redding’s top restaurants have taken turns serving good news and bad.
The bad news last year was when Maritime quit serving lunch.
The good news was Maritime made some drastic menu changes, including the addition of what I think might be Redding’s best hamburgers to the mix. (Maritime used to have a dedicated Wednesday hamburger night, but it turns out hamburgers are on the bar menu every day, so patrons can order hamburgers any night.)
Good news came when Rivers – an upscale beautiful restaurant – opened after nearly Biblical disasters to its construction project. Just last weekend I attended a memorial service at Rivers and was impressed at the eclectic and delicious appetizer selection. It reminded me that Rivers was a dining option.
Then came this week’s bad news, via an email from Rivers with the subject line: New hours and opportunities at Rivers.
The email message reported that Friday is Rivers’ last day when it will serve lunch, which I suppose is another way of saying Redding diners will soon have more opportunities to each lunch elsewhere.
Come Monday Rivers will only be open 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday 5 to 9 p.m.
The good news this schedule change leaves more hours available for Rivers to host weddings and other large functions at its beautiful space that overlooks the Sacramento River.
Here’s the email announcement: (Click here to visit Rivers’ website for more information.)
So how about some good news? Coming right up.
Maritime Seafood & Grill owners Unni and Morgan Song are proud to report that their Carmichael restaurant, Ambience, was featured as the No. 1 restaurant by the Sacramento Bee’s restaurant critic, Blair Anthony Robertson . (Click here to read the full article.)
Here’s what Robertson said about Ambience, a place Robertson named as his favorite fine dining cuisine:
“Ambience (6440 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael). I didn’t “discover” chef Morgan Song, but count me among his biggest fans. For decades a stalwart of the San Francisco fine dining scene, Song brought his skill, creativity and palate to an out-of-the-way location in Carmichael.
With a style based on nouvelle French cuisine, Song is the most artistic, eclectic and skilled chef I have encountered in our area. Each meal is an adventure, a pleasure, a showcase.
I have returned to Ambience ‘off duty’ more than any other restaurant. Song and sous chef Olga Ponce handle the basics like steak and chicken and fish with great flourishes. Beyond that, I have enjoyed a head-spinning assortment of perfectly prepared dishes not often found on local menus: squab, quail, pheasant, elk, rabbit and, to elaborate for a moment, seared wild boar arranged in a line on a long rectangular plate, each medallion atop a row of scalloped potatoes, the boar capped with burgundy poached pears and a balsamic glaze.
Vegetarians are welcome, too. Just call ahead or make a note via OpenTable.com, and the kitchen will make you something special.”
I agree with Robertson’s assessment, which is why I wince when I see empty tables at Maritime Seafood & Grill. We need to support good restaurants as much as possible, because once a restaurant closes, it’s gone forever.
But wait, the Songs have more good news from the Sacramento Bee in which the restaurant was recognized as the “Best Overall” by the online restaurant review site, OpenTable.com. Click here to read it.
Speaking of good restaurants, you can read MenuPlease her on anewscafe.com for spot-on reviews of local eating establishments.
But I continue to sing the praises of the Thai Bistro on Yuba Street in Redding for its consistently delicious and eclectic food. While Maritime’s incredibly gifted Morgan Song must divide his talent between more than one restaurant, you’ll find Thai Bistro’s owner and chef Naj Phutsangdeeis in his restaurant kitchen seven days a week. His sauces are absolutely out of this world. He’s really an unsung culinary wonder. If I had to pick one meal to order it would be his rack of lamb.
That’s all the restaurant news I have today. Please do weigh in with your restaurant observations and opinions.