San Francisco’s Red Window Restaurant Celebrates Spanish Traditions With A Modern Twist
Red Window, one of San Francisco’s newest North Beach hot spots, is on a mission to create a welcoming neighborhood hub for locals and travelers alike. Now that people are getting vaccined, looking for great places to be out and about, and most importantly feeling comfortable doing so, Red Window is in prime position to become the areas go-to spot for a quick tapa and low-proof cocktail, or for guests to enjoy a full-on dining experience exploring the innovative low-proof cocktail program with thoughtfully paired with Spanish bites.
Ideally located in one of the busiest sections of Little Italy, it’s not common to see a non-Italian restaurant taking up prime real estate. With that said, Managing Partner Elmer Mejicanos has worked in the area for over 15 years now, and seeing a need for a different kind of offering in the neighborhood, tapped Chef/ Partner Adam Rosenblume to broaden North Beach’s horizons.
“Red Window is an expansion on the European perspective seen in the city’s Little Italy, bringing a celebration of Spanish traditions in imbibing culture, tapas, and pintxos, with a modern twist,” explains Mejicanos. “The menu is aimed to allow guests a customizable dining experience based on their preference and comfortability level, equally desirable for a quick pintxo and low-proof cocktail lunch, takeaway meal, or a leisurely tour through the cocktail and food menus with a visit from the bar cart—that brings the bar experience to the guest’s outdoor table.”
Mejicanos opened Red Window with the intention of bringing San Francisco its most expansive, seasonal, low-proof cocktail bar. Creatively working with a beer and wine license, he harnessed the opportunity to make Red Window a destination for curated low-proof cocktails, deftly maneuvering fortified wines and bitters.
MORE FOR YOU
Guests will find seasonally rotating cocktails alongside classics like the house Red Window Cobbler dubbed the “best cobbler in San Francisco.” His mission is a fresh response to a city that continues to crave craft cocktails, especially after so much time spent indoors, but with a spotlight on the low-proof experience.
For the menu, Chef Adam Rosenblum collaborated closely with Mejicanos to create a selection of tapas that pairs and balances with the flavors developed for the cocktail program. Rosenblum seeks to evoke a sense of nostalgia with guests experiencing Red Window. Diners will find an array of pintxos, tapas, and dishes that are recognizable and celebrate Spanish tradition. The flavors are true to their origin, while pairing interesting touches of flavor and technique that give it a unique Red Window touch.
We sat down with Managing Partner Elmer Mejicanos to talk about best things to order, how Red Window has been received, pandemic pivots and more. Here’s what he had to say.
Has it been tough to open given the pandemic?
We planned to open Red Window in early 2020 before the nature of hospitality was turned on its head during the pandemic. It was a long road getting to opening and he couldn’t be prouder of the team’s ingenuity to still bring Red Window to life and develop new ways to do so. As the outlook on the industry turns more optimistic, the team’s mission is to revive a sense of hospitality, impart fun and playfulness, create a place for community, and share a whole new way to enjoy craft cocktails.
How has the restaurant been received? What can guests expect from a dining experience here?
We’re grateful to say that the restaurant has been very well received by locals and visitors of San Francisco thus far. People seem excited to have something different in the neighborhood.
Guests will find attention to detail in every aspect of service – from warm hand towels offered at the start of the meal, to the bar cart that brings the fun and ambiance to guests. Red Window strikes a careful balance of providing a well-crafted cocktail and dining experience, in an approachable environment, fit for enjoying a special occasion or treating yourself to a midweek bite with friends.
Why did you choose North Beach for a Spanish restaurant?
In Mejicanos’ opinion, North Beach is one of the longest lasting, true neighborhoods in San Francisco. It’s a place where everyone knows their neighbor and people take pride in supporting local businesses – which are still mostly family-owned or small businesses. There’s a special sense of community that really solidified the Red Window team’s decision to set their roots in this iconic neighborhood.
From the cocktail menu, the house Red Window Cobbler is a must-try. Mejicanos always had a love for the complex flavor of sherry cobblers. Sherry is one of Spain’s most well-known low proof products and pairs very well with the food menu at Red
Window. We took immense care in the creation of the Cobblers – really focusing on the process and quality of ingredients.
The cocktail is actually made up of a secret Red Window house blend of three different styles of sherry, alongside Tangelo Cordial, angostura, and locally sourced peaches, fig, and black walnut. There’s true love and care that goes into every single one. When he was creating this cocktail, his usual process takes a few weeks to develop new recipes and the Red Window Cobbler took months to land the right balance.
Also, trying a cocktail from the bar cart is a must-try for those dining outdoors. The goal for the bar cart is to bring something to people that was taken away during the pandemic. The team missed that interaction that happens when guests are seated at the bar and interacting with someone making something delicious.
Best things to order on the tapas menu?
From the tapas menu, there are plenty of Spanish-inspired delicacies to try. A few must-haves include the Tortilla Española, inspired by Rosenblum’s pre-pandemic research trip to Spain. A dish typically served by the slice, Rosenblum instead serves up an individualized-sized version of the potato and egg dish, garnished with a caramelized onion puree and paprika to add anther depth of flavor. Also not to miss are Red Window’s Patatas Bravas, made by thinly slicing potatoes and slowly baking them into a 50-layer potato cake. Each is then individually cut into cubes to fry and topped with a peppery aioli.