The Warren Home 
Home Search search Menu menu Not logged in - Login | Register
The Warren > Reviews > Restaurant > The Red Kwali - Milpitas

The Red Kwali - Milpitas
 Moderated by: Vargr, shadowcat-x, boojum
New Topic Reply Printer Friendly
 Rate Topic 
AuthorPost
 Posted: Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 08:31 pm
  PMQuoteReply
1st Post
Vargr
Vargr


Joined: Tue Jun 7th, 2005
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
Posts: 4740
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
Restaurant:       The Red Kwali
Location:          179 Ranch Drive, Milpitas, CA
                        (Across from Black Angus, next to Pasta Pomodoro)
Phone:              408-262-2626
Hours:              Lunch 11:30AM to 3:00PM, Dinner 5:00PM – 9:30PM (10:30 on Fri/Sat)
                        Closed Sundays
Website:           http://www.redkwali.com

Located in McCarthy Square of Milpitas, this restaurant features “Pan-Asian” dishes with Thai, Malaysian, and other similar cuisines.  Though the menu shows symbols indicating “hot/spicy” dishes, the items we had were warm enough to warrant notice, but not the fiery hot versions Thai and other such regional dishes are noted for. For the three of us, our less pepper-accustomed pallets appreciated the more subtle heat.

The McCarthy Ranch location is new for this restaurant. They have another in the San Francisco area which has won “best of the bay” awards in its past. From the taste of the dishes we sampled, this wuff can clearly see how they rated such honors!

The menu includes many typical Thai dishes, such as Pad Thai, Tom Kha soup, Black Pepper and Basil fried noodle dishes, Curries, etc. It also include a many more unusual dishes from the general region, such as Cantonese Mee noodles, Vietnamese Orange Fish Fillets, Singapore Chili Crab, etc. The selection is definitely a step above the 'standard fare' of most similar Thai or Asian restaurants.

Your friendly diners, Shadowcat, Boojum, and Vargr, enjoyed an early supper there complete with appetizers, entrées, and desserts. The tastes were spectacular! 

We started with appetizers of “Roti Canai”. These were griddle-fried rounds of bread, somewhat similar to Turkish “Nan”. They were about the size and thickness of a large pita bread, but without the “pocket” and much lighter and flakier.  An appetizer was one round of bread, served with a yellow curry dipping sauce. The sauce was full of ‘curry goodness’, but not overly hot. The Roti’s flaky, buttery flavor was excellent even without the sauce.

Next, Shadowcat and I (Vargr) shared a “small” bowl of Chicken Tom Kha. The “small” is in quotes because the bowl was more than enough to feed 3 folks their own appetizer-sized serving, with some left for seconds. The "large" size must come in a soup tureen! Since Boojum didn’t want to try the soup, Shadowcat and I both had a couple servings of it.

The Tom Kha style includes creamy coconut milk, with the light touch of lemon grass. This version had lots of straw mushrooms and plenty of tender chicken bites mixed in with the broth, as well as a nice helping of baby corn on the cob, tomatoes, and other veggies. The fresh cilantro added a nice counterpoint to the rich flavors, and a bit of heat to the spices. Altogether, a very satisfying soup! For a light meal, a bowl of this and a helping of steamed rice would be a very nice selection. For those wanting even lighter fare, they offer the Tom Yam version of soup as well, which leaves out the coconut milk for a clear, lighter broth.

Then came the entrées: 

Boojums’ Cracked Black Pepper Noodles with chicken was loaded with fresh black pepper. However, that flavor, though prominent, didn’t overpower the other spices and ingredients in the dish. 

Shadowcat had Assam Chili Fried Noodles with chicken, one of the dishes marked as “hot”. The flavors were reminiscent of Pad Thai, with a noticeable element of the fish (Nam Pla) sauce, but with more chili and its own unique flavors. The dish was certainly “warmer” pepper-wise, than Boojum’s black pepper noodles or my caramel prawns, with the “after you swallow” heat that comes from chili oil as well as an initial up-front spike of warmth from red peppers. But, though the heat was noticeable, it wasn’t overwhelming. And the complexity of the other flavors was delightful. 

Both noodle dishes left buttery sauce and oil residue on the plate when finished, so these likely don’t qualify as “light” fare. But the flavors were rich and bold, without being overly oily or greasy when eating. 

Your ‘wuffy’ had Caramel Prawns; large tiger prawns with a sweet yet savory caramel sauce, mixed with sautéed onions and bell peppers. The prawns are served ‘shells-on’ with the legs also attached, so diners who prefer not to eat those will end up with sticky fingers. However, the ‘fussiness’ of pealing them is well worth the effort! My serving had 8-10 of the large prawns, a very substantial portion. The meat was firm without being overcooked, and the veggies mixed with the caramel sauce very nicely. Though sweet, the sauce wasn’t cloying, with a rich assortment of Asian spices to render it more savory. This was definitely an entrée and not a dessert.

Though the portions for all our entrées were substantial, we each decided to try the dessert menu as well. Shadowcat had Mango with Sweet Rice, Boojum had the Peanut Roti, and your friendly wuff had Fried Banana with Ice Cream.

The Mango was tangy and not overly sweet, the Sweet Rice lighter and less syrupy than some wuff has tasted – a good finish without being too heavy and rich. Wuff’s fried bananas showed up as a pair of what looked like crisp-fried spring rolls with a spoon of French vanilla ice cream at one end of the oval plate. The fried rice paper wrapper around the banana slices was exceptionally crisp and light, while the banana inside was warm, soft, and sweet. The French Vanilla ice cream was quite ‘top shelf’ by itself, but paired with the bananas and crisp shells created a wonderful mixture of sweet, soft, cold, hot, crisp, crunchy, fruity, and aromatic; truly a wonderful dessert to look forward to.

Boojum’s Peanut Roti saw a return of the original Roti appetizers, but this time covered with a light coat of butter and then slathered with a cinnamon and sugar mixture and absolutely laden with crushed peanuts. For such a simple dish, the flavor was fantastic! The combination was unexpectedly good considering such simplicity, a testament to how good ingredients in the right portions can create powerful flavors from the simplest recipes. 

Wuffy also tried out their Ipoh White Coffee, Iced, as the meal’s beverage. The coffee was robust, without being ‘Starbucks strong’, with a nice rounded flavor. Mixed with sweetened condensed milk and then served over ice, it was nearly as sweet as a Frappaccino milkshake but much lighter. Quite a tasty beverage, if one enjoys Frappaccinos.

Décor was contemporary with Asian elements, with piped-in soft rock music. Service was prompt and attentive, but we were early in the dinner hour and the place was nearly vacant at the time. Note: The McCarthy Ranch shopping area features several ‘big name’ eateries, such as Black Angus, Pasta Pomodoro, etc. Locals informed wuffy that the area gets VERY busy for supper. As we were so early, right at the 5PM opening, seating was not a problem and there was no wait. Keep this in mind if you prefer a shorter wait.

Price for the three of us was slightly over $70 before the tip and tax. Considering the size of the portions, and the fact our meal featured appetizers, a soup course, a special beverage, and three desserts, this seemed a very reasonable price!

Wuffy strongly recommends the Red Kwali for those who enjoy Asian cuisine and curries with an American moderation of the typical fiery Thai heat. 

On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best)

Taste = 5 paws
Selection = 4 paws
Service = 4 paws
Cost = 5 paws
Overall Rating 4.5 Paws

Recommendation: VISIT!

Last edited on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 08:32 pm by Vargr



____________________
We grow not old, so long as we continue to chase our dreams.
Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Mar 29th, 2010 05:16 am
  PMQuoteReply
2nd Post
Vargr
Vargr


Joined: Tue Jun 7th, 2005
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
Posts: 4740
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
Re-Visit and Red Kwali update

While out here on business/vacation, Booj, Shadowcat, and this wuffy had opportunity to return to the Red Kwali for lunch. 

First thing noticed was a change on the outside of the building; the addition of "with Martin Yan" at the top corner of the store front.  Yan some may know from "Yan Can Cook" of TV and cookbook fame.  I've enjoyed watching him prep various dishes, and expected a positive change in the already enjoyable menu from the prior visit.

The interior was pretty much the same, and there certainly were the expected changes to the menu selections.  Still a rather eclectic mix, but they seemed to lean toward more familiar Asian dishes, and somewhat less toward the wide-ranging scope of the prior menu. Stir fried rice, noodles, familiar Thai 'standards' like Pad Thai; the selections seem to have lost a bit of their 'oddness', but the descriptions of those left definitely sounded appetising.

Sadly the new name on the storefront and the change in menu weren't the only differences; the quality of the preparation seems to have taken a significant downturn as well.

Boojum ordered the chicken Peppered Noodles, prominately featuring black pepper as the key flavor component, and Chai tea.  Shadowcat had Tom Ka soup and Pad Thai with shrimps.  And your friendly wuff ordered Calimari appetizer, Mango fish, and "white Ipoa iced coffee". 

Service was prompt, the appetizer arriving quickly, and the wait staff did quite well at checking in on us and keeping our glasses filled.

Unlike the calimari Vargr has ordered elsewhere, these showed up a rather large triangles and not the more common rings.  Unfortunately, the Calimari was somewhat rubbery, and the battered coating a bit dough-y.  Certainly no crispness in it. And there were more "veggie accompaniments" to the platter than pieces of calimari. Shadowcat also shared around her soup. The soup broth was quite nice, with pronounced lemon highlights, but much lighter and thinner than similar soups wuff has enjoyed at other establishments. Much less of the rich coconut milk in the preparation, it would seem.

Boojum's Chai tea and wuff's coffee arrived next.  The coffee had a very strong, robust coffee flavor, and a goodly amount of cream or half and half, but not much else.  Sweet, but any additional spices were quite subtle, and a lot of ice meant it soon watered down.  Boojum's Chai tea was very light on tea flavor, and tasted as if it was a common bagged tea, with very little addition of the "Chai" spices. Nothing at all like the robust, rich, aromatic and flavorful Masala Tea we'd had at Jewel of India just a day earlier.

The main courses followed shortly.  Boojum's noodles were flavored with black pepper, but the more prominent component was a soy-based sauce.  It was almost as if the pepper had been sprinkled on at the end of the preparation, and not added earlier to infuse the whole dish.  Shadowcat's Pad Thai had a rather surprising amount of oil to the dish; when she boxed up the remains to take home, there were several tablespoons of oil left oozing about the plate.

Wuff's fish was breaded and fried, and coated in a orange mango sauce, then smothered in a large assortment of stir-fried vegetables (onions, peppers, carrots, etc). The breading was once again soggy, and the fish so rubbery that it couldn't be cut with a fork. It also had quite a strong 'fishy' scent and flavor. The mango sauce was flavorful, but somewhat lacking in mango flavor. And the vegitables, like those in the calimari, nearly outweighed the meat.

Perhaps the kitchen staff was just having a very "off" day, but the overall experience was on par with a budget asian buffet, and the fish certainly not even up to that standard.  This was quite a let-down from the initial experience.  Hopefully they pull it together, for, as proven by the prior visit, they have the potential to be so much better.



____________________
We grow not old, so long as we continue to chase our dreams.
Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Mar 29th, 2010 05:28 am
  PMQuoteReply
3rd Post
boojum
boojum


Joined: Tue Jun 7th, 2005
Location: San Jose, California USA
Posts: 10907
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 
    I have to agree with Vargr on this one.   The meal we had at the Red Kwali was definitely a step down from the meals we had there before.

     Recently I had the wonderfull Masala Chai tea they make at the Jewel of India.    With the strong flavors firmly in mind I ordered the Chai Tea at Red Kwali.    The tea had milk, and sugar, but the tea flavor was faint and the chai spices were almost non-existant.   Please note that I like STRONG tea.   Lynn, who likes the gentler flavored teas enjoyed the tea, though she also couldn't taste muc in the way of Chai spices.

     The Black Pepper Noodles wth Chicken was much better.   The top parts had a wonderfully strong Black pepper flavor, but the bottom parts (which were in a pool of soy sauce) had almost no pepper flavor at all.   I think thats why Vargr got so little of the black pepper.   Again, a LOT of sauce left filling the bottom of the plate.   The chicken portion was a bit overcooked and dry, though the noodles tasted good.

     Honestly, I think that this restaraunt has lost the fine edge it once had.   I was PARTICULARLY dissapointed in Vargrs Salmon dish.   It's fishy flavor was so overwhelming that it overwhelmed the black pepper of MY dish.   Worse, it took me a good while to actually get a bite of the fish because my fork would not cut through the somewhat rubbery texture.

    ah well, hopefully they will improve at some point in the future.

                                         boojum the brown bunny

Back To Top


 Current time is 12:20 am

The Warren > Reviews > Restaurant > The Red Kwali - Milpitas
Top



UltraBB 1.172 Copyright © 2007-2011 Data 1 Systems
Page processed in 0.1404 seconds (10% database + 90% PHP). 27 queries executed.