We, the dining public may want to thank our lucky stars. For what, you ask? For steadfast integrity among some restaurateurs. These conscientious folks choose during this virally uncertain time to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, regardless the monetary consequences. We report on this because diners-out should know who to trust; know who will provide a safe, secure, reliable space and product for our dining pleasure and peace of mind. Red Feather is the most recent case in point, though the Dining Out column has encountered others in the months since March of last year.
Brad Bernstein, owner and chef of Red Feather, shared what happened at his eatery recently: “We had an employee who is living with somebody who works at another restaurant. That person tested positive for Covid, and then our employee was tested and came back negative. So, that’s good: right? But even with that, there is exposure, and you don’t know for sure (until the quarantine period is over) if they will come down with it. So, we closed the dining room and everything at Red Feather because of contact, did the tracing, and just reopened carryout this past Friday (Jan. 8),” he said.
In the Lucky Stars Department, my sense is that the Jewish community and all diners-out should be thankful for restaurant owners who put the general welfare ahead of personal gain. This mindset is a mitzvah of sorts, since Bernstein and some others in the restaurant business are doing a public good, a public service, at a time when they can ill afford to do it. That’s a trait of which we can all be proud, in my book.
After assuring its safety, Bernstein resumed carryout service as indicated above, and we went ahead with a planned article on Red Feather’s high quality carryout operation. Personally, no qualms at this end about the safety of his carryout for the very reasons detailed above. The eatery and its staff take every precaution to assure everyone’s safety, keeping the kitchen and the personnel within the tight protocols in place to protect everybody from contracting the insidious virus among us.
On to our carryout dining experience. We picked up our food at 5:30 one evening. We were there precisely on time, and within about three minutes our order was packaged and brought out to us in the vestibule of the restaurant. During this period, there was an Uber Eats™ pickup and a walk-in order as well. By six, we were at our kitchen table, ready to dig in. We had what is pictured: a burger with fries, chicken tacos, gnocchi with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, and the beet salad.
Red Feather’s burger is a classic, made with specially procured Black Angus beef, ground lean. For me, the key to this outstanding sandwich may well be the caramelized onions that top it. Those onions are a taste treat all to themselves, and they complement a burger for sure. Burgers at Red Feather are served on a brioche bun, which is a texture and flavor element that raises the burger bar to a level most burger specialties cannot match. To maintain kosher-style dining, we asked for a burger only with onions, holding the boursin garlic and herb cheese and the candied bacon that comes on it. Both burger and fries traveled well in the special pasteboard containers used at Red feather. Not sure of the physics of it all, but my thinking is that the warm food does not become soggy because the packaging absorbs some of heat condensate instead of reflecting it back into the food, as plastic or Styrofoam does. In any event, the burger and fries held up well and were enjoyable eating.
Next, we had the chicken tacos, a Red Feather twist on fare that has become all the rage of late. These tacos are different from the bottom up. The corn “shells” are more corn cakes than the typical versions. Because of their texture and consistency, the flat shells absorb the juices of the fresh, house-made pico de gallo and other ingredients. Delicious! And these tacos travel well, also.
Both the gnocchi and beet salad travel well and did not suffer from their trip. We reheated the gnocchi for about 20 seconds in the microwave—perfect! And the beet salad made for a tasty treat as well.
The take-away for this takeaway is that Red Feather provides exceptional carryout for those who want high-end restaurant-quality food at their kitchen tables. Just as important, supporting eateries such as Red Feather, where they go the extra mile in carryout, is worth doing because it helps us all reach the end goal—surviving the pandemic.
See you at Red Feather!
Red Feather Kitchen
3200 Madison Road
Cincinnati, OH 45209