I think it's very misleading that Redd is currently rated 3rd best restaurant in Yountville (behind French Laundry -- which I've never been to -- and Bouchon, which I found very disappointing.)
This was my 2nd time visiting. Why? To give it another try.
Here's how it goes:
Decor and Ambiance -- Minimalist modern artistic. That's fine, if it's what you want, but it feels a bit cold and sterile (I have nothing against this style, it just has to be done well -- the way it is done at Redd is mediocre. Lighting is very low to hide the stark reality, but some corners are so underlit that diners pull out flashlights and cell phones to read the menu -- I'm not kidding! And they seat tables way too close to the front door to be comfortable when the cold drafts repeatedly hit you after dark, every time the door opens.)
Service -- Standard, generally proficient, but not friendly (kind of matches the decor.)
Food -- Hit or miss. I really like some of their small dishes. They do have a special touch to the balance of flavors being used, sometimes in quirky or unconventional (but not so weird as to be off-putting) ways. My favorites are the warm duck confit salad, and the lobster risotto. The beet salad with gulf shrimp and pomegranate was also very good, as was a chestnut soup.
Main dishes, however, seem to be less inspired and more heavy-handed. The "sauteed" skate is not so much "sauteed" as it is "pan-fried", cooked nicely (tender yet barely-crisp on the lighly crusted edges), but with a more-than-acceptable dose of salt. I'm not sure why so many fine dining establishments lean so heavy on the salt (Bouchon was guilty of this as well), I guess because it "enhances flavor"?
Wines: Great selection, horrible pricing. We're talking a 100% markup on several bottles I looked at (when you can literally drive -- or maybe even walk -- down the street and buy some of them straight from the winery) an their corkage fee is prohibitive ($25/bottle, last I checked)
Price: Expensive. About $30 for most dishes (about $15 for small plates, and they are indeed small) $10 for desserts. This wouldn't be so bad if you get what you pay for, but in my opinion, you don't. In my opinion, 20% lower prices across the board would be more reasonable for the quality/quantity.
I'm a local and don't think this will be very high on my list in the future for myself or for guests. I would sooner give Ad Hoc another try, or visit one of my other local favorites (Bottega, Brix, Mustards, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, Market... and Bistro Jeanty wasn't bad, either)