Some call Red’s a sports bar. And sure, they do have plenty of sports memorabilia — old photos and the like — adorning the North Falmouth spot’s walls, and chicken wings and hot dogs on the menu. But the Sea Crest Beach Hotel’s year-round restaurant has deeper roots in the athletic community than that. Red’s pays warm tribute to its original co-owner, Red Auerbach, the one-time Celtics coach and president. Auerbach’s family donated the aforementioned sports mementos, including a collection of vintage letter openers and a saucy little bottle opener in the shape of a nude siren.
But with Old Silver Beach’s glorious white sand stretching out just beneath the restaurant’s open windows, Red’s ambiance is more laid-back seaside dining than rowdy sports bar. While Chef Daniel Kenney’s menu proffers much in the way of familiar, casual eating (fish and chips, baked cod, a simple steak) it never slips into the mundane. One of the best dishes on the spring menu is a big bowl of plump PEI mussels steamed in a chardonnay, shallot, garlic and basil broth. A sprinkling of pepper flakes adds subtle spice to an herb butter that thickens and forms a substantial dip for crusty bread.
A rosy-centered filet mignon comes topped with wonderfully crisp asparagus (dusted with a fine flavor-unobtrusive crumb) and sits atop tender, roasted sweet potatoes. A zinfandel-spiked jus infuses the dish with sweet notes without the expected heavy woodiness of a standard red wine gravy.
Crème brûlée is crème brûlée, right? It’s become routine, almost déclassé, in its ubiquity on dessert menus. How spoiled we are that it’s no longer exciting. Until sometimes it is. Kenney’s is a light brûlée, the custard creamy-sweet and rich in vanilla. A dollop of tangy, tart cranberry and passion fruit compote provides both an exciting contrast and a superb complement. Perhaps the sport here is the pursuit of the extraordinary in the ordinary.
350 Quaker Rd., North Falmouth