Cheap Wine, Great Dessert, and an Offhand Comment: Date Night at the Red Stag

Week 4 of our official Date Night Research brings us to Facebook, loading and refreshing the Red Stag Supperclub's page throughout the day to see if Date Night details (and pictures) have been posted. As with the Bryant-Lake Bowl, options are limited, so we cross our fingers and hold our breath for a delightful (and bean-less) adventure.

See also: Be the Prettiest Cheap Date in Town at Ngon Bistro's Date Night

A couple of things to mention about the Red Stag Supperclub. This is a trendy place, with a warm, cozy interior and an attractive wait staff. This place has hipness seeping from every nook and cranny, perhaps most apparent in the red-plaid-clad servers with handlebar mustaches and visible tattoos.

You will be surrounded by dark and romantic decor, and charmed by the brass stag statues placed here and there while you enjoy your fresh, local, and sustainable cuisine. Were you to plan your date nights seasonally, the Red Stag is a great place to visit during the fall and winter, where you'll gaze across the candlelit table at your honey or turn to watch the snow swirl outside.

We were seated swiftly (we made a reservation -- it's easy to do and you don't even have to speak with a human over the phone, phew!) at a heavy wooden table with comfortable seats and greeted almost immediately by our server for the evening. One thing to note when you visit the Stag, make sure you look at your coaster: As a nice touch, they offer both sparkling and still water depending upon what side of your coaster is showing. Once our water needs were filled to our specifications, we were given a small plate of focaccia.

Now, we are nothing if not connoisseurs of bread baskets, and this particular specimen left a sort of carbohydrate-fueled emptiness in our hearts. Dry focaccia with no olive oil or butter to speak of? One tiny slice per person? OK. Maybe we needed to calm down. Maybe it was because our upcoming meal was going to blow us away and they didn't want us to fill up on we maybe (absolutely) did at Broders' a few weeks ago. This time, we were going to be dainty diners who take portion control into account.

The Date Night menu was placed before us, indicating the two entree options, dessert, and wine, all for $32. We ordered the Peterson Farms Braised Top Round with cauliflower puree, braised greens, and beef jus, neglecting the option of the Grilled Portabella, pea puree, roasted turnips, mozzarella, radicchio, vincotto, because... beef. Our wine options were a Pinot Grigio, a Shiraz, or a Merlot. Though we wanted the Shiraz, it was already sold out (it was only 6 p.m.), and not being big Merlot drinkers (though it may have gone better with the beef), we chose the 2012 Coastal Vines Pinot Grigio, a versatile wine with a bit of acidity and floral notes.

When our server brought the wine over, she had us try a taste first.

"How do you like it?" she asked.

We both were satisfied enough and answered, smiling, "Fine," and she quickly retorted, "Well it's an $8 bottle of wine, what do you expect? It's Cheap Date Night. It's cheap!"

For the record -- and we won't digress too much -- we like Cheap Date Nights because we like to try different restaurants and enjoy a fancy meal once in a while (a fancy meal that we couldn't afford otherwise). So needless to say, we were a little disappointed that we were being called out as "cheap" customers, rather than regular diners.

Regardless, our entrees arrived and they looked beautiful. A small pile of braised, flavorful Peterson Farms beef sat atop a brush stroke of creamy, buttery cauliflower puree (seriously, we couldn't even believe it was cauliflower), and a hearty side of sauteed kale completed the plate. The entree was incredibly flavorful (if not a little overly salty) and presented nicely. After we cleaned our plates, we awaited the dessert.

Soon after our dishes were cleared, heaven appeared before us in the form of cranberry bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and a rum caramel sauce. The cranberries were such a refreshing change from the raisins we were all used to. Each bite started off with a buttery caramel flavor, and ended with a sweet and sour burst of cranberry -- a perfect pairing for fall.

Though we remain a bit burned by the fair but unnecessary accusations of frugality (and the bill being placed on our table before we were even done with our last course), our satisfying meal paired with an ethereal dessert was worth the trip.

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