ChefView-Redwood Cafe

Chef View By Dana Johnson

Redwood Café Revealed

Anyone that knows me, knows I’m not easily impressed. It’s rare that I will walk into a restaurant and instantly feel transported through a magical portal like in Alice in Wonderland! From the street side of the Redwood Café you will see a quaint little restaurant with trellises of romantic hanging green leafy vines and warm wood siding. I entered from the back side gate that opened to sprawling grass grounds, leading to a white painted gazebo that has a sweet southern charm. “Romantic” was the very first word that arrived in my thoughts. My eyes began to gaze about the property and wedding bells sounded off in my head. No! Not for me silly! But definitely for all those in love in search of the perfect local romantic setting to tie the knot!

So maybe you aren’t looking for a stellar backdrop to entertain an amazing event, but you’d enjoy a gorgeous setting to dine at while you delight your palate. The Redwood Café (RC) was once a mere construction site for owner Bob Campana 18 years ago. Bob purchased the property from The Knights of Columbus that came with a catering license. For the first 10-12 years this was a catering operation that blossomed into a full bar and upscale restaurant that will captivate many of your senses. Bob lives in Modesto on a lil’ farm with animals, gardens, and a small vineyard, but he doesn’t work at the restaurant. He loves to dine there! After running his pool and plumbing business he can be found dining on a NY strip steak. Bob is known for generously donating back into the Modesto community via numerous organizations like St. Joseph’s Church, St. Stanislaus, central Catholic, Camp Taylor, and regularly hosts on-site fundraisers including the Humane Society.

Lorna Borges has been the general manager at RC for the past 10 years. I asked her what it feels like to walk through the door there 5-7 days a week; she said it’s where her career belongs as it’s never dull. Her passion sparked in her voice when she talked about working with public, especially the brides. She described her pure satisfaction where she is instrumental in a bride’s wedding vision becoming a reality. Lorna also oversees the restaurant, the energetic staff, and steady volume of pleased customers. She is a health nut and loves the RC vegan burger.

Nick Richars, wine steward, runs the fine wine program. Yes, over 200 wines to choose from! How do we decide? Just ask Nick! He has worked restaurants and been in the arena for 8 years. He has an impressive knowledge of wine and is there to ensure guests are going to indulge in a magnificent pairing from their plate to their glass. The notable factor with Nick is this, he will effortlessly make you feel comfortable when you are looking for a wine to compliment your meal whether it is lunch, dinner, dessert, or perhaps one of the tasty tapas from the small plate menu.

Executive Chef Ryan Breshears of Modesto has been on board since Dec 2012. Chef Ryan is a burger buff like me, but it he can bring it to the table as he spoiled me with Lollipop Lamb with a soft polenta and a balsamic glaze, a mouth melting pork chop with apple-mango chutney, sautéed garlic spinach, and gorgonzola creamy polenta. I finished with a dessert sampler trio of tiramisu, lemon-coconut cream pie, and apple pie! ALL Dana~licious and highly recommended!

What a fantastic dining experience at RC! Dine in rich character of the inside restaurant, the cozy patio, or in the wine cellar. A definite repeater here! Yes and trust me! As a bonus I met patrons at the table next to me, Sally and Kenly Mitchell, and Carmen Bedoy. Not only do they love the Redwood Café, they appreciate and regularly enjoy exploring Modesto guided by the Modesto View! What a wonderful compliment! Thank you!

Modesto View signature question: Beatles or Stones? Lorna and Nick (and Me!) all concur STONES!

4342 Dale Road Modesto (209) 545-9248

Hours: Tues.-Sat. 11-9pm

Happy Hour Everyday! 3-6pm

$1 off beer $1 off well drinks and $1 off select specialty wines

Separate lunch & dinner menus

Tues: Live Music

WOW Wine on Wednesdays (Flights)

Pork Rack Chop 1 10 oz pork rack chop 1 portion soft polenta w bleu cheese 2 oz pineapple relish 1 portion sautéed vegetables 3 oz baby spinach 1/4 oz whole peeled garlic 1/2 fl oz olive oil Salt and pepper to taste lightly season pork with salt and pepper. Grill to desired temperature. While chop is cooking, heat 1/2 table spoon olive oil in sauté pan. Sauté chopped garlic and add baby spinach. Cook until lightly wilted. Plate soft polenta, grilled chop, pineapple relish, Spinach, and vegetables. Recommended pairing – off dry German Riesling.

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