I’ve been a fan of Chef Neal Fraser for years, and was terribly saddened when his restaurant Grace shuttered in 2010. So I, like many others, anxiously awaited the opening of his high-end, downtown locale, Redbird. Housed in the rectory of St. Vibiana, the deconsecrated Roman Catholic Archdiocese Cathedral, the restaurant’s name is a nod to the Cardinals who had formerly resided in the upstairs living quarters of this beautiful building – considered to be one of the city’s oldest. Together with his wife and business partner, Amy Knoll Fraser, restaurateur Bill Chait, mixologist Julian Cox (of Bestia, Republique, Petty Cash, etc), and pastry chef Jashmine Corpuz, Chef Fraser has created a dining experience that is unique, elegant, and ultimately – delicious. Fraser is adept at creating flawlessly luscious, protein-centric dishes, as is clearly evidenced by the menu’s range – from traditional Posole with heritage pork belly and chicanitas; to a modern take on Santa Barbara sea urchin with wasabi “snow;” to a hearty, aged Liberty Farms duck breast with duck leg chorizo; to the always-decadent seared lobe of foie gras from La Belle Farms, paired with pistachios, cocoa nibs, Asian pear, cider jelly, and brioche. With a tequila-based “The Good Bishop” cocktail in hand, savoring these mouthwatering dishes almost feels like culinary sanctuary (as well as delectably sinful!).