It wasn’t long ago that we watched as Ryan Gallagher brought his good-natured competitive streak to season two of Top Chef Canada, making it all the way to episode nine. In August, SIR Corp. announced that Gallagher would be leaving Ruby Watchco to find himself back in the Financial District (he worked as an insurance broker at Brookfield Place many years ago), as the executive chef at the relaunched Reds Wine Tavern. The two-storey restaurant, which opened back in 2000 as Reds Bistro and Wine Bar, shut down briefly in September for renovations. The result: a lively space full of—you guessed it—exposed brick, warm lighting and communal wooden tables that’s nevertheless still sophisticated enough for the district’s businesspeople.
The menu, which Gallagher describes as “not stuffy,” focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients, especially on the daily seafood menu supplied by Foley Fish Boston. A new list of “shareables” includes a tavern cheese and butcher board ($29), Atlantic lobster rolls ($23) and lobster guacamole with corn chips and jalapeno sour cream ($18). There’s salads hefty enough to be entrées, like a grilled yellowfin niçoise ($27), mussels ($18.50) and comfort food mains like a “butcher” burger ($17), chicken pot pie with foie gras gravy ($18) and buttermilk fried chicken ($18). The extensive wine list is curated by sommelier Jasmine Black, and along with a tome listing 350 wines by the bottle, the bar offers 77 wines by the glass. There’s also a new cocktail menu, including five different takes on the caesar ($10.50 to $12.50), and creative spins on classics like a saffron negroni ($9.50) and a maple bacon bourbon manhattan ($10.50). The new Reds features two large private dining rooms upstairs for larger groups, as well as a chef’s table from which Gallagher’s fans can, if they’re lucky, spy the Top Chef Canada star in action.