Day 18 Dinner Debriefing: Red Bird

Red Bird is a wine bar and dining room hidden in a historic hotel building in downtown Missoula. The rest of the hotel seems to be full of professional offices and such. It’s a good thing we took a cab, I don’t think we’d have ever found it by ourselves. The only sign is a discreet birdcage on the sidewalk, and another in the hotel entrance. Even then, you have to walk a dozen steps or more into the lobby before you can see the wine bar. The hostess takes you to the restaurant through the bar and behind a heavy curtain (to cut the noise). The little dining room is beautiful and we had a tiny table for two in an intimate nook.

Caroline ordered the beet salad for a starter, and although it sounded interesting, it was fairly ordinary at heart. And quite large. Tim scored a direct hit by ordering the scallops. My first reaction was ‘nummy’, and then when I moved up from my initial Grade 2 vocabulary to something more like Grade 10, I chose the word ‘harmonious’ because of the way the asian flavours complimented the scallops. If you’ve read the menu, you may be wondering what ‘crisp sushi rice’ is. Well, you know how McDonalds waved their magic wand at hash browns and created those crispy things? Red Bird has a magic wand, too, and it’s more magical. I shared some of my scallops with Caroline and she said they were amazing. If she came back, she would have them as her entree.

Wines: it’s a wine bar, and they have lots of half bottles to choose from. Caroline had a Patz & Hill Pinot Noir from Sonoma (not seen on the online version of the wine list), I had a McCrea Syrah from Yakima. We chose these to go with our main courses – the Harissa Rubbed Alaskan Halibut for C, the Montana Lamb for T. This restaurant buys their lamb (and most of their other meats) whole, and do their own butchery. This means that lamb stays on the menu, but the cut changes. Tonight it was sirloin. Both our entrees were good, and the wines matched well.

We saved a little room for dessert: I just had the white chocolate ice cream, but C had the more elaborate citrus trifle. It actually had more berry fruit than citrus, and she enjoyed it.

Checker Cab came promptly, so we were able to get back to our hotel without hanging around. I’m glad, because I’m tired, and my back is sore from the drive. Day off  tomorrow – Yay!

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