Open for Business: Redwood Bar + Restaurant

An area native returns to Kingston and brings back some sun-soaked culinary clout.

When Kelly Jenkins Polston and husband Scott decided to sell their two Southern California restaurants and head back east, they knew they wanted to bring some SoCal sensibility. Their newest venture, Redwood Bar + Restaurant in Kingston’s Stockade District, is an enticing union of laidback West Coast tastes and an agrarian-centric Valley attitude.

Redwood can be found inside a brick and stone building on historic North Front Street, and features a large, open kitchen that highlights the expert work of Chef Sean Tompkins and his supporting staff. “I found him on Craigslist,” Polston says with a laugh. “It was kismet. He really cares about the cuisine that he puts out.”

Polston explains that when people think of California cuisine they think of tacos — which they do offer, punched up with a cumin sour cream — but she had something better in mind. The menus here change to reflect what’s local, with Polston and Tompkins working together to create them and feature Valley-sourced greens and vegetables whenever possible, depending on availability. “Like with seafood,” says Polston. “We have our fish flown from the West Coast and delivered within 24 hours of being caught.” An optional summer prix-fixe menu, meanwhile, is determined by what’s found at the weekly Kingston farmers’ market.

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Dinner guests will find a range of classics — like wild mussels with white wine and a melt-in-your-mouth slider served with ale onions — but Redwood doesn’t stop there: The menu is designed to incorporate worldly flavors, like the miso-roasted tomatoes served with the lobster, or the Roasted Cauliflower infused with Moroccan spice and pistachio praline. Tompkins’ creations also feature “modernist techniques,” a style seen best in the dessert menu, which offers unique comforts such as Poached Pears with cream cheese mousse, and Raspberry Panna Cotta with chocolate “soil.”

Impeccably designed cocktails with house-made syrups and shrubs, and a mix of local and West Coast craft beers work nicely to round everything out. “We want Redwood to be a place where you want to come and just hang,” says Polston.

Redwood Bar + Restaurant
63 North Front Street, Kingston

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