Our Gourmet: Desserts a highlight at The Red Blazer
The Red Blazer72 Manchester St., Concord
Open: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cuisine: Contemporary American
Prices: Appetizers, $5.99-$10.99; soups and salads, $2.99 to $13.99; entrees, $14.99 to $26.99; Desserts, prices and selection vary.
First impressions: 8/10
We more often than not dine at places that are decorated in a contemporary style, so it was a nice change to walk in to a traditional place complete with wood floors, fireplace and white linens. Even though the dining room is large, it still manages to feel warm and cozy. The Red Blazer was decorated for Christmas so there was a festive holiday vibe. We immediately felt welcome as if we were having dinner at a friend's or relative's house.
Our Gourmet: I had been craving French onion soup since the weather started getting cold, so I was happy to see Onion Soup Gratinee ($4.99) on the menu. Served in a large, hot crock with a thick layer of cheese with seasoned croutons, it was worth the wait. Onion soup can often be on the salty side, but was perfectly balanced. The broth was flavorful and meaty and had plenty of onions. The crock was so large it could easily be a meal with some of the great rolls they serve on the side with honey butter. (8/10)
TDC: I had the Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders ($8.99). The tenders are covered in a batter that is fried to a golden brown and full of coconut flakes that add a slight sweetness. They are served with a Thai chili sauce whose heat sneaks up on you because it also has a sweet taste, but that sweetness quickly transforms into a spicy kick. While the heat was far from overwhelming, you'll feel it get under your skin. If spicy is not your thing, you'll want to skip the sauce. If it is, you will really enjoy this complementary combo. (8/10)
OG: It was difficult to choose from the long list of entrees, but I finally settled on the Filet Mignon with red wine shiitake mushroom sauce ($26.99). The filet, wrapped in bacon, was served with mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley that featured onions and summer squash. I was surprised at how much food was on the plate, especially the size of the filet itself - definitely two meals' worth. The steak was well seasoned, but I ordered mine medium-rare and it was cooked closer to medium-well. (7/10)
TDC: For an entrée I decided to go with the Grilled Portobello Mushroom ($15.99). This meaty, tender and flavorful mushroom was covered and surrounded by oven roasted tomatoes, sautéed spinach and gorgonzola cheese. Wild rice was served on the side along with the vegetable of the day. The tomatoes were thick and full of flavor that was further enhanced by the balsamic reduction that was drizzled over the mushroom. The gorgonzola cheese, which usually has a strong flavor, was well portioned into small bite-sized pieces that added to the dish rather than overwhelming it. (8/10)
OG: If you have a sweet tooth, nothing beats the sight of your server bringing over a tray of homemade desserts to choose from. There's something about being able to look at your dessert before you choose that makes it a little more special. It was love at first sight when I spotted the Lava Fudge Cake ($5.99). The velvet-textured cake was incredibly chocolaty and served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Perfect ending to the meal, especially for a chocoholic like myself. (9/10)
TDC: For dessert, I had the chocolate mousse. This light and airy glob of chocolate is served inside of a rippled chocolate bowl that you can enjoy breaking apart and eating with the mousse, or even after the mousse is gone. For an added bonus, a few extra pieces of chocolate are thrown on top as well. This is a good-sized portion for all of you chocolate lovers out there who demand more than a tiny fix. (8/10)
Final thoughts: 26/30
We can't say enough good things about the service from the hostess to our server. Everyone was very friendly and helpful from the moment we walked in the door.
There's something for everyone on the varied menu. It features several gluten-free items (including desserts made in their own bakery), and a sizeable cocktail, beer and wine list. We thought the prices were reasonable, especially given the size of the portions.
In addition to the restaurant itself, The Red Blazer also has a pub that features live music and stays open late if you are in the mood for a late bite or libation. The place is also quite large (and has a function room) so if you are looking to take a large group of coworkers or friends somewhere, this is a good option. The next time we are in Concord, we'll be tempted to swing by again, if for nothing else than to see that dessert tray at our table again.
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