Luna Red offers Healthy Handcrafted Food: A Restaurant Review San Luis Obispo Style

By Nancy Chuda founder and editor-in-chief of LuxEcoLiving and co-founder of Healthy Child Healthy World.

Do drop in when in San Luis Obispo. Visit the mission, have a coffee at Novo, creek side and then get ready to share a meal with some foodie friends.

Photo credit Nancy Chuda

Luna Red is an exquisitely conceived  avant garde restaurant that brings the palette to new heights. Wow!

In today’s economy, you may love to eat, even crave food, but you may not have the bread to pay for a five course meal.

Enter the age of America’s romance with  the Tapas- Spanish in origin, light in terms of bulk and calories but loaded with flavor and texture.

Luscious chard leaf dolmades....delish!!

In Spain, an appetizer, called an entremése, is a complement to a meal while a tapa is something altogether different. Although an entremés can be the same little food that a tapa is, it is served differently. It is literally the appetizer coming before the first course. Tapas, on the other hand, are not appetizers. They are tiny plates of food served in bars all over Spain to accompany drinks. It’s no wonder that tapas have become a new culinary sensation in many cuisines throughout the world.


Enter the brilliance of Robin Covey and Shanny Covey who own and operate two of the Central Coast’s most popular restaurant destinations—Robin’s, in Cambria, and Novo, in downtown San Luis Obispo. Both combine an artful amalgamation of world cuisines, prepared with local fare.

Luna Red, their third venture, sits on Monterey Street, in San Luis Obispo,  is  next to the historic Fremont Theatre. Robin’s passion for simple and clean food, local produce, and a warm ambiance helped spur the vision for Luna Red. Inspired by the European custom of respect for the locality and traditional preparation of food, the menu includes cured meats, local cheeses, and produce from regional farmers’ markets.

Try this! Crab Lasagna

Luna Red was born out of a desire to turn an empty space into a gathering spot full of life and filled with the enticing scents of vogue, yet traditional, cuisine.  A beautiful ambiance which includes green sustainable features; eclectic décor, antique windows, doors converted to stunning mirrors, and 1950s George Nelson bubble lamps. True to the local, sustainable philosophy, Robin pairs his antique and modern pieces with woven bamboo floors, Kirei walls, and a cork-lined planter.

Luna Red's Executive Chef Shaun Behrens

The menu is fabulous! Every morsel and I do mean morsels as tapas are small portions of delectable combination of ingredients and spices intricately prepared to attract the senses; taste, smell, sight, touch and texture.

Real foodies understand that simply prepared foods in a restaurant can be kind of boring. Stay home if you want to roast a chicken.

Here’s my pick at Luna Red… thanks to Wes Martin our impeccable waiter in every sense of the word. His service was great but his recommendations were even better. Under the artistic direction of Executive Chef, Shaun Behrens, we were treated to a delectable assortment of small plates. We started with a selection of Japanese style baked oysters which contained radish, ginger,shallots, soy sauce, and sambal rouille.  The killer for me was the second course of duck confit crepes which enveloped  crackling duck (so hard to achieve) meshed with hoison sauce, and scallions. So light. The crepe at Luna Bar differs from  the Chinese pancake. You’ll see.

Have you ever tried a salad made from charred Romaine lettuce? I hadn’t either. Wes recommended this lighter side of greens roasted under fire and glazed in a blue cheese cream, lemon croutes, and encircled in a balsamic reduction….. so delicious I could have made this my entire meal.

As the wrap like the tapas is a reinvention for many chefs, I liked the way Shaun handles the delicate bundling of walnut rice, fennel, avocado, and spice beet coulis in chard leaf dolmades. The taste of these ingredients following the fire roasted romaine salad was just terrific!

Saving room for desert was not an option however, we did have a few afterthoughts. Here is what Wes recommended: Lemon-anise cake made with blood oranges and beet gelato, shortbread cookie floating in an orange syrup. Emmm sounds great!

Lemon Anise Cake....a dream!

And if the stacked and dirty olive martini with Brazilian vodka was not enough to put me over the red edge, I know for sure  THAT desert would have.







Editor’s Notes:

Location: 1009 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo, ca, 93401

Reservations: 805-540-5243


Monday – Friday
11:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Nightly 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Late Night Dining
Friday & Saturday
9:00 – 11:00 PM

Live Music
Friday & Saturday          9:00 – 11:00 PM
and Sunday evenings 5:30 – 7:30 PM

Happy Hour:
Monday – Friday
5:00 – 6:00 PM

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Article by Nancy Chuda

Nancy Chuda is a seasoned broadcast journalist, television writer/producer, talk show host and author. Her career spans over three decades having appeared on both national and cable television. In 1971 she authored one of America’s first low-calorie cookbooks, How To Gorge George Without Fattening Fanny, published by Hawthorn Books. Appearing as a regular guest on Dinah’s Place, Dinah Shore’s ABC daytime talk show. And later on The Johnny Carson Show, The Today Show with Barbara Walters, Merv Griffin, Phil Donahue, and David Frost. In 1972, Nancy and ABC’s Good Morning America co-produced Michael Krause produced a cable program, The Low- Calorie Gallery, based on her best selling cook book. In 1975, hired by Warner-Amex as part of a creative team, she was responsible for hosting and producing content for Columbus Then and Now, a program, the invention of QUBE, an interactive television system which played a pivotal role in the history of American cable television. In 1978 she developed a series for ABC’s Good Morning America based on an article which appeared in Mother Earth News magazine. The Integral Urban House, a case study project and model for a sound urban habitat sponsored by the Farallones Institute in Berkley California was the first example of green architecture ever to be televised. In 1979, Nancy co-produced and hosted Sunnyside a Los Angeles based public affairs program viewed on the CBS affiliate station KNXT, From 1980-1984, she appeared on KABC’s Eyewitness News as entertainment reporter and film critic. Her environmental advocacy began when her daughter was diagnosed with cancer. In 1990 she co-produced an Emmy nominated ABC Variety Special, An Evening With Friends For The Environment to benefit Mothers and Others for a Livable Planet one of the first national children’s environmental health advocacy groups in which she served as a volunteer. Currently, she is the co-founder and President Emeritus of Healthy Child Healthy World, a non-profit organization established to honor the Chuda’s only child, Colette, who died in 1991 at the age of 5 from Wilm’s tumor a nonhereditary childhood cancer. She is also the co-founder of The Colette Chuda Environmental Fund, a donor-advised fund which supports major epidemiological research on children’s health. Nancy has won numerous awards for her advocacy. In 1996, the California League of Conservation Voters Environmental Leadership Award, The Healthy Schools Heroes Award, presented to both her and her husband James Chuda by California Governor Gray Davis for their legislative efforts in securing The Healthy Schools Act which was signed into law in September, 2000. In 2003, Parent’s Magazine published an article Mom’s On A Mission and awarded Nancy for her environmental leadership for children’s environmental health. She serves as an associate of the Director’s Council of Public Representatives of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was appointed by President Clinton’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Donna Shalala, to serve as a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) a position she held for four years. In 2010, along with her husband James she founded LuxEcoLiving. Nancy Chuda tagged this post with: , , , , , , , , , , , , Read 264 articles by
2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Brian S. says:

    I’m so glad you discovered one of San Luis Obispo’s greatest gems! Luna Red is one of my favorite places to eat and you definitely ordered some of their best items (e.g. the duck confit crepes, charred romaine salad, etc.). Next time you’ll have to try the amazing open faced pastrami sandwich. Yum! I heard a rumor that they are moving to a new location next to the SLO Mission in order to offer patio seating.

  2. [...] Luna Red offers Healthy Handcrafted Food: A Restaurant Review San Luis Obispo Style By Nancy Chuda founder and editor-in-chief of LuxEcoLiving and co-founder… [...]

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