New on Fourth Avenue is Red Light District, a dining room and social house concept that embraces the Gaslamp's seedy history in both provocative design and culinary approach.
Inside, dibond metal prints of striking women surround a central bar that is punctuated by crimson red accents. In the kitchen, Executive Chef Jason Maitland sexes up classic comfort food with modern French and Asian influences. The combination weaves passion and intensity throughout the experience.
Maitland, formerly of Flavor Del Mar, now caters to a more daring downtown crowd. The playful menu is marked by innuendo divides, starting with Conversation Sparks, and moving on to Foreplay, Down for Business, Special Treatments and Happy Endings. Stand-out starters include the Bacon Fat Mac & Cheese ($6), Duo of Hawaiian Ahi ($14), Crispy Slow Cooked Pork Belly ($14) and Roasted Wagyu Bone Marrow ($16).
With sparks flying, seal the deal with a juicy entrée, such as the Chinese Five Spiced Duck Breast with chuka soba noodles, fresh baby bamboo and hot & sour mushroom broth ($26), Butter Poached Maine Lobster with rock shrimp, crème fraiche risotto, shaved fennel salad and satsuma tangerine foam ($38), or the Surf & Turf, a prime filet of beef with Maine diver scallop, duck fat pommes frites, wild arugula, truffle aioli and syrah demi ($34). Not quite satisfied? Spice things up with a special side order of Down & Dirty shaved black truffles for $20.
The dessert spread remains traditional, which can prove promising for a Happy Ending. Nibble on the warm chocolate bouchon with pistachio ice cream ($7), or keep it light with a trio of fresh sorbets ($6).
You'll find a list of spirits with unexpected flavors in the ever-important Little Black Book. Signature cocktails include the Green Light made with Plymouth gin, jalapeno water, agave nectar, blood orange bitters and ginger beer ($11), the Red Bell Pepper, a blend of Ciroc coconut vodka, thyme, vodka, seltzer and lemon ($12); and the Lime Smash, a mix of Appleton Estate 12 year rum, Cointreau, almond syrup and mint ($10).
Red Light District is located at 409 F Street and opens daily at 11am, with service through 10pm Sunday-Thursday, and 11pm Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 619.255.2800 or visit Red Light District.
Courtesy photos by Darren Bradley