Elegant Evolution

Red's Chic Expansion
By Rachel Werner

Beginning as a novel addition to King Street, RED’s first permutation became a runaway success—despite cramped quarters and, often, hours-long queue. Funky cocktails and avant-garde rolls solidified the sushi lounge’s reputation as one of the most stellar dining establishments in downtown Madison. And in 2016, owners Jack Yip and Tanya Zhykharevich decided to expand the restaurant and its menu. “We didn’t just grow out; we grew up,” reflects Zhykharevich.

Staying true to the name’s original root meaning—refined, elegant, delicious—RED’s new digs on West Washington give the illusion of a restaurant within a restaurant thanks to a doubled seating capacity, private dining room and robust additions to the menu fusing French technique with Asian flavors. Co-executive Chef Jed Spink’s rendition of beef short rib is heaven on a plate with every morsel of the tender cuts cuddled in a hoisin demi glace and misoparmesan risotto. “A lot of chefs hold back on seasoning, but I play it bold,” he states.

The sushi offerings have also multiplied by staggering proportions under Yip’s expert tutelage. Customer faves like Volcano and Firecracker provide a complimentary balance to adventurous, seasonal selections such as the Polar Bear and Snow White, which appeal to seafood and meat-lovers alike. Though the intention is to stay true to their roots by keeping the menu 70 percent sushi and seafood offerings, Yip says the new items are executed with equal precision. He explains, “We have to keep pushing ourselves to stay on top and to give our customers an exclusive experience.”

High-end is the name of game behind the bar as well. Sake connoisseurs can explore an extensive list meant to tempt a wide range of palettes—whether drawn to a subtle honjozo like Devil’s Wagging Tongue or a playful fusion of rice wine, sage and Riesling in the cocktail Bountiful Harvest.

Still intimate with a touch of glam, RED’s makeover is a voyage of pure pleasure. “The location, ambiance and the food have been revamped to catch the eye,” says General Manager Amy PearceHayden. “We don’t follow the trends. We set them.” That is bold. Madison.


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