Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Red's True Barbecue, Leeds

Up until now I've not been hugely impressed with any of the on-trend meaty, American style, filthy food type of places. Be it burgers or barbecue (it's usually one or the other, or a combination of both) everywhere I've eaten that loosely fits this template has been decent enough, but I've always left with the impression they're paying lip service to the style. Menus that talk the talk but food that doesn't really match the billing, a pale imitation of what you'd hope to find in the States.

On the evidence of last weekend's meal, Red's is a little different. Everything about the smoked brisket sandwich and the sides suggested care had been taken to do things properly. I'm no barbecue expert but the meat made me smile very much. Slabs of dense, fibrous meat with a sticky, blackened crust, redolent of long slow cooking and imbued with a smokiness that permeated through each slice.

What really sealed the deal was the bread, a quality hoagy roll with chew and heft to the crust, sturdy enough to support the meat throughout. I think the bread supplier was listed as secret on the menu, at a guess I'd say it's from Dumouchel.

Sides were also good, the pick of the bunch being an excellent macaroni cheese; - all unctuous cheesy goo and rib sticking carb. Seriously addictive when it's freezing cold outside and you're hungover. The deep fried pickles also rate a mention because deep fried pickles are the future. Only the fries were on the average side.

A word on the sauces before I finish. I'm a barbecue sauce hater. Barbecue sauce usually equals teeth itching sweetness and artificial smoke flavour, so all credit to Red's for making me think again. None of the sauces fit this mould, and all of them had some merit. The pick for me was the vinegary Carolina one, like a sharper, slightly sweeter and milder Caribbean hot pepper sauce and a great foil for the brisket.

Red's is deservedly popular, so you can expect to wait both for a table and for your food after you get seated. Be warned that London-style 'no reservations queue for your supper' style dining has arrived in Leeds. It's not something I'm a fan of, but good luck to any restaurant that can drum up the popularity and buzz to make it work, as Red's is obviously doing right now.

You could off course just do what we did, wander past at noon whilst hunting for breakfast,
head inside on a whim (brisket, macaroni cheese and deep fried pickles are perfectly acceptable breakfast foods are they not?) and grab a prime booth spot straight away.

Prices seem perfectly fair for the very good food (brisket sarnie with two sides is £8.95), service is friendly and the booze offer looks very tempting.  Recommended.


Cloth Hall Street

Reds True Barbecue on Urbanspoon

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