Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dining at The Red Room

Last week my husband Brian and I hired a babysitter for the kids and had a dinner date at The Red Room on the Preston Ridge campus of Collin College. A friend had told me about The Red Room earlier this year and I thought it sounded neat. The Red Room is a restaurant run by the culinary arts students at the college, and it gives the students experience as chefs in the kitchen and as servers in the restaurant. 

We specifically reserved a spot for this night because the cuisine was going to be Russian!  Our boys are from Russia and there are not too many restaurants around here where we can eat Russian cuisine, so we were excited.

The restaurant is located in the Alumni Hall.  There is a separate entrance for the Culinary Arts Institute.

Once inside, we found a few signs that led us to The Red Room.

When we got there, they asked for our name since we made a reservation.  However, they didn't have our names written down.  It was ok, they said there was still room for us.

We brought cash with us--good thing because they only take cash and checks.

The inside of the room had red walls on both ends and you could also see into the kitchen.  There was instrumental music playing on the speakers.

We sat down and our server gave us menus.  After a few seconds I looked at my husband, puzzled, and he had the same look.  I said, "Does your menu have Russian food on it?"  And he said no.  Our menu was labeled "American" style service with an "International Sampling".  We were expecting a fixed menu of Russian food for $20, like the website said.  We asked our server about it, and he said the Russian food was canceled.  They had changed it on the website about a week prior. 

We looked at our menus for a few more minutes and had to get over our disappointment of the food switch. 

Here is the menu:

There were two choices of appetizers, one choice of salad, and two choices of entrees.

We both ordered the Beef Carpaccio for an appetizer.  We had never had this and we weren't sure what to expect.  It was thin slices of beef topped with cheese, greens, and oil.  It was so good!  Definitely the best thing we ate that night.  It was flavored really nicely.  I can't even describe it.

We decided to skip the salad course since our appetizer sorta had a salad on top of it.  Brian ordered the Korean BBQ Beef with Rice:
He said it was good, but a little small.

I had the Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas on Penne Pasta:
It was good.

We decided to order dessert.  Our server told us about 4 dessert options.  All of them had really long descriptions and we couldn't picture what any of them looked like.  So we both decided to order the first option, which was described to us as a sort of ice cream/custard cake.  This is what arrived:

It was a very interesting blend of coffee flavor, cinnamon and apricot.  It's probably not something I would crave but it was interesting.

We talked to the dining room manager for a while and he explained the culinary arts program at the college and the program's recent accreditation.  He also told us that one of the main goals of The Red Room is to teach the students about the communication process between the servers and the chefs.

We asked if children were allowed, and the answer is yes.  Except they do not have any high chairs or booster seats, so you would need to bring your own.

Our bill with tip came to $50.  We did enjoy the food and we tried some new things.  I don't think we'd go back for an American food night again.  The menu was a little too limited for our liking and the items were not as unique as we anticipated (except for the dessert). 

We would like to go back for a Russian menu if they ever offer that again.  Or maybe the French menu (offered on December 12).  I recommend if you do go for a certain type of cuisine that you check the website or call before you go to make sure the menu hasn't changed.

The restaurant is open for dinners on select Wednesday nights this semester, and next semester the restaurant will be open for lunch instead.

Have you dined at The Red Room?  What did you think?

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