A couple weeks ago I had the chance to visit to visit a lovely little spot in the east village for a friend’s going away party. Located a little off of 1st ave on 13th Street, The Redhead was one of the best meals I’ve had all summer, if not also one of the heaviest (in retrospect it may not have been the best idea given that it was about 90 degrees outside that day). So, without further ado, let’s get down to business.
Bacon Peanut Brittle
The first thing we ordered was a bowl of bacon peanut brittle. This led to a bit of confusion because what we were served was more of just a smal bowl of peanuts that seemed to have been cooked with bacon, but it wasn’t the type of peanut brittle that I expected. The visual confusion soon faded as I ate some and whatever visual issues I had with it became irrelevant for two reasons. The first was simple: it was delicious. I didn’t so much get the taste of bacon with the peanuts, as much as I got the smokiness of the bacon, which went oh so well with the peanuts. The second, was that I was immediately reminded of something else I ate, the Urban LumberShack concrete at Brooklyn’s Shake Shack location (fun fact, for those of you who don’t know, I was the first civilian to eat at that location). The connection made sense very quickly as the bacon peanut brittle used in Shake Shack’s concrete is in fact the the same brittle we were currently munching on, giving the Redhead instant points for nostalgia factor.
Magic Hat Circus Boy
About a third of the way into the brittle we were served our drinks; after the waiter informed me that the beer I actually wanted was not available anymore, he recommended me the Magic Hat Circus Boy, claiming it was similar to what I ordered. I, mistakenly, took his advice and this turned out to be the only disappointing part of my meal. I’d talk about the color and head, but it was served in a bottle so I have no idea what either actually were. The taste though was nothing special at all. The issue wasn’t even that it tasted bad, it just barely had any taste at all. The one upside was that it was a pretty light beer to drink, and given the weather outside, probably for the better, but overall forgettable (as soon as I finish with this I’m going to do my best to forget it all over again).
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
For my entree I went with their buttermilk fried chicken and, holy fuck, that’s where the southern comfort really hit home. Along with two pieces of fried chicken (one dark, one white), it also came with a piece of cornbread and a small spinach salad with strawberries and candied almonds. The chicken was simply glorious, I don’t know how else to describe it except poultry perfection. The skin was beautifully fried and stayed crunchy throughout the whole meal. If I had the chance, I would just have them fry up pounds of that skin for me, take it home, and just wrap all my meals in it. Between the crunch and the perfect seasoning I couldn’t help but close my eyes and smile as I slowly chewed away on my first bite. The dark meat was right up there as well; amazingly moist and just melted in my mouth, I really couldn’t have asked for a better piece of poultry.
The breast wasn’t as great but, then again, I’ve never been a big fan of white meat. Obviously it was more dry than the thigh, and the skin didn’t have that same, amazing crunch that the thigh had. Still though, for white meat, it was some great piece of meat.
As for the cornbread and salad, both were good, but the salad was definitely more memorable. The cornbread was well made, but a bit dry for my liking. The flavor was definitely there though, that I can’t complain about, but it would have really benefited from a bit more moistness, especially since I only bit into after I already started eating the breast, thirsts were quickly built that needed immediate quenching. The salad though was another part of the plate that really just hit home nicely. There wasn’t anything intricate or complex about it, but the simplicity was refreshing, as were the strawberries. The freshness of the salad and the sweetness of the strawberries really created a nice dichotomy from the savoriness and heaviness of the chicken. Spot on pairing in my book.
Cuban Style Grilled Corn (stupidly, I forgot to take a photo. Apologies to everyone.)
For my side I went with their cuban style grilled corn, which was two pieces of corn on the cob, grilled, and covered with cheese. I traded one of the pieces with a friend for one of his drop biscuits. The corn was good but not great, in retrospect it didn’t really fit with the rest of my meal and the cheese slightly overpowered the flavor of the corn. It was good, but if I were to go again I might want to try something else. The drop biscuits were more confusing than anything else. They’re served with a bowl of honey that you’re supposed to dip the buiscuts into and I guess it’s a southern thing, because I didn’t really get it. The buiscuts were kind of sweet enough on their own already and it’s a good thing this was the last thing I ate because the sweetness of the buiscuts and the honey kind of killed the palate. It wasn’t bad or anything exactly, I just don’t really understand how it fits into a dinner, it seems closer to something that you would snack on while drinking tea or coffee.
Speakeasy Double Daddy IPA
After dinner, we ventured over to The Hop Devil Grill (some readers may remember that this is the bar that makes up my two favorite blocks in the city for food and drink), where I had the pleasure to partake in the Speakeasy Double Daddy (double IPA). The photo doesn’t really do the beer any visual justice. It poured a very pretty amber/dark orange color with about a finger and a half of an offwhite head. It had a lovely, distinct citrusy smell to it, which definitely came through in the flavor, along with some strong hops (to be expected when dealing with an IPA). It was a great beer, but poorly chosen as it was also incredibly heavy and, given the weather, may not have been the best choice. It was not a commute back home, I’ll say that much. Save this for when the temperature cools down a bit.
Overall it was a great meal though, if not a bit expensive. The buttermilk chicken alone sold me on the place right away; everything else was just the icing on an already delicious cake. A warning though, it really is a heavy meal, so if you go, prepare accordingly.