Kris Wessel's Red Light Shines

New restaurant means great food at peerless prices.

The very concise wine list — six whites ($24 to $42) and four reds ($34 to $36, one $58) — contains appealing boutique selections, but it wouldn’t hurt to add a couple of slightly higher-end bottles, if only for the occasional enophile (Wessel has plans to do so in the near future). Two sakes are offered as well (Hiko’s “Milky” and Mutsu Mai), yet the ambiance here seems more suited to suds. Red Light responds with nine choices — from familiar bottles such as Red Stripe and Corona to the more esoteric Wolaver’s Brown Ale and Avery White Rascal.

Peach-blueberry tart jolted us from our seats. To be more specific: After the waiter knocked over a water glass with a plate of peach-blueberry tart, we were jolted from our seats. The dining room crew is composed of nice folks, but for the most part they are poorly trained and inattentive — plus there aren’t enough of them so they’re always running behind. The tart, though, was divine, the fresh fruits baked together long enough to meld, but not so much they melted into indistinguishability. Loosely scattered lumps of buttery cobbler crust topped the fruit, and whipped cream capped it like a cloud. A soft, not-too-sweet, quality-cocoa chocolate cake proved equally heartwarming, especially when paired with freshly made ice cream; we sampled a swell honey-walnut, but flavors change daily (rumor has it that banana is best).

You might have to wait a bit for your dessert, for it seems that when the waitstaff isn’t backed up, the kitchen is. In fact the only patrons who might not exit this joint ecstatically are sticklers for timely dining and professional-grade service. For everyone else, Red Light represents an utterly unique restaurant (in these parts) with great food prepared by a gifted chef at peerless prices — either in a boisterous, fun-filled environment or by a serenely flowing river. Here’s hoping Wessel’s talent shines here for a long, long while.

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