The Red Cat has been a beloved fixture in Chelsea since it opened in 1999. It is a warm and welcoming place where you can enjoy a meal with friends or grab a snack at the bar with its signature bowls of crisp radishes. There’s something about the ambiance, from the engaging entry under the red canopy to the wall sconces on the weathered white barn paneling, and the muted soundtrack of classic rock that makes it cozy and hip at the same time. It’s hard to explain, but it just feels good to be there. Like the Mediterranean cuisine owner/chef Jimmy Bradley’s favors, it’s uncomplicated.
Red Cat diners enjoy the freshest corn, tomatoes, beans, and lettuces from local farms. A quick Saute of Zucchini captures that fresh-from-the-garden flavor and is simply sprinkled with a few toasted almonds and grated pecorino cheese. Another appetizer or side is Bradley’s famous Tempura of Green Beans with sweet hot mustard. Bradley, who worked on fishing boats out of Rhode Island in his youth, reels in the freshest catch from local fishmongers. A Dijon Crab Cake with lemon-caper aioli set on some baby greens is a tasty way to begin a meal. Pan Roasted Cod is perfumed with saffron mussels, sweet sausage, pearl pasta, and some garlic bread to catch all the juice. Veal Milanese is served with a tri-color salad, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil.
Pistachio Semifreddo is a dessert that never leaves the menu. Another winner is Roasted Fresh Figs with honey ice cream and pignoli rosemary biscotti. On your way out, take an apple from the barrel sitting next to the flower pots near the front door. Dinner daily; lunch Tuesday to Saturday. -- Marian Betancourt