349 East 13th St (between 1st and 2nd Aves)
New York, NY 10003
The Redhead is a restaurant I’ve passed many, many times before but had never thought to walk in. It looks like a dark dive bar from the outside and frankly, the name “The Redhead” never sounded like an appetizing name for a restaurant. Butttttt… don’t judge a book by its cover right?
Eager to try something new one Friday night, LAW, H.W., T.W. and I came to check it out. It’s rated surprisingly well on Yelp and is known for its fried chicken. Can’t say no to fried chicken! We started with a couple drinks. I got the Porch Swing ($11), which is pretty much a spiked Arnold Palmer with cognac, Redhead sweet tea, fresh lemon, and mint. VERY strong. VERY delicious. Definitely exceeded my expectations.
We started with the Grilled Octopus ($12) with marinated beets, chorizo, rye, and pickled mustard. Deeeeelicious. The marinated beets and pickled mustard added a nice acidity to the almost-creamy octopus. Octopus was soft, but not too soft. Had a nice bite to it. Chorizo added a little extra flavor. All round solid dish.
We also shared the Low Country Shrimp ($13) with Anson Mills antebellum grits and andouille sausage. The Redhead has these grits done pretty right. It’s REALLY heavy so I would recommend sharing it. A couple bites of the creamy grits, sweet shrimp, and pickled greens is enough.
The least favorite of the appetizers we shared is this Carbonara Flatbread ($12) with a farm egg, parmigiano, summer squash, and bacon. Despite having some of my favorite ingredients, the flatbread came out pretty boring. The bread was just bread. It wasn’t particularly crisp nor chewy. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t get this again.
The star of the night was the Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($19) with watermelon, pickled onion, smoked almonds, and mint on the side. One of the best classic fried chickens I’ve had. Skin was crispy and relatively light.
Meat was very juicy and flavorful. The housemade hot sauce on the side was also phenomenal. The watermelon was a nice idea because it cut some of the heaviness from the chicken. But since it sits next to the chicken on the plate, it becomes warm… warm watermelon is no bueno. The other issue I have with this chicken is the $19 price tag.
I don’t know if I’ll be back, given that I rarely crave American food like this. I’d definitely go back to Ducks Eatery before coming back here. The food was good but wasn’t interesting enough to come back for. Chicken is good but too expensive. Worth checking out at least once though!