Red Clay, the latest entry into the expanding restaurant eatery field, is centered on the lower level at the upscale and fashionable Atrium Mall in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. It is the collaborative creation of three of the Boston area's most respected restaurateurs who have formed an ambitious partnership during the past several years under the name The Sapphire Group. Michaela Larson, former owner of Michaela's in Cambridge and of the notable Rialto in Harvard Square, along with Jody Adams, executive chef, and Karen Haskell, part owner of the same, intend to grow and refine the dining concept beyond its Boston area base.

The use of regionally grown herbs and produce at the peak of freshness are important ingredients to the dishes served at Red Clay. These ingredients are evident in all the dishes served and this peace of mind adds to the restaurant's comfort level and unique character. And unique it is. Just down beyond the saute line are two Woodstone ovens, the 60" Mt. Chuckanut and the 48" Mt. Adams wood burning stone oven encased in attractive stone, mosaics and marble. After the meat, chicken or fish is added to the mix with fresh herbs and seasonal vegetables, it is placed in clay pots. All of the ingredients are then permitted to settle and combine in the pots in the hot stone hearth ovens.

The restaurant boasts a large open exhibition cooking theatre style kitchen that contains a grill and saute station which houses two heavy-duty series Montague ranges, a Montague charbroiler and a Pitco 14 fryer. Behind the wall of the exhibition equipment line is an additional prep kitchen which houses a Montague range, a Vulcan tilting skillet and a 60-gallon jacketed steam kettle. Together with the saute equipment, the tilting skillet and kettle provide the foundation and base for many of the uniquely served entrees that grace the tabletops of Red Clay.

The clay pot style of cooking has origins from around the world, but here with a distinctively European accent, giving the restaurant's offerings extraordinary appeal and truly homestyle flavors, ones that are sure to keep diners coming back again and again.

In addition to the hearty hand-crafted crusty individual wedge-shaped breads that are baked in the ovens, there are several notable baked deserts. Fresh seasonal fruit and crumble pies are among the list of these expertly prepared desserts, along with shortcakes, meringues and devil food cakes.

The dining room is a mixture of pastel colors which accentuate the warmth and wholesomeness of the food. It is large and the entranceway opens to the mall's lower level. There is patio style seating across the inviting entranceway and seating for 150 people inside with a small private dining alcove in the back of the main dining room for approximately 25. Surrounding the exhibition cooking area is a long cured bar at which 15 additional people can sit comfortably, have a cocktail, observe their food being prepared, and/or snack or dine on tasteful pizza appetizers, soups or antipasti or full entree portions.

The place settings are simple and cleanly designed to bring the food and its creative elements to the forefront. The bright European white body of Royal Rideau by Syracuse China and the oversize feel of Baguette flatware from World Tableware are the perfect choices to fulfill this objective. Libbey's Bristol Valley sheer rim stemware brings distinctive elegance to the tabletop and complements the restaurant's wine and beverage service. The choice of Libbey's Sirrus salt and pepper shakers in the Spanish Green color blends well with the appealing decor.

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