Red Pepper in Framingham - a mixed bag?
Working in Framingham today, I saw a banner on Red Pepper that it is now open under new management, with a new chef. I had a lunch special, so my results may not be typical. I'm wondering if any other hounds have tried the place out, and what their experience might have been.
First thing I noticed is that they have remodeled a bit. The walls are now a pale yellow (I think), and they have put a divider up in the dining room, making it feel a bit less cavernous. It's actually a bit nicer, but that's somewhat ruined by ugly white (stained) plastic covering the tables. The woman who greeted me was a bit brusque, not at all welcoming (those who knew the owner/manager in the restaurant's last incarnation will know why that is striking). I did get out of her that the new chef is from Sichuan province (Jianyang?) and came to Red Pepper form New York.
The menu still has a number of the usual Sichuanese suspects on it, but there's less variety than the old one, as I recall. Since it was just me, I chose a lunch special of Ma Po Tofu, which came with white rice and a spring roll and soup. The cost was $6.95.
The black tea they served was luke warm.
The Hot and Sour Soup was warm, but not really hot. I sometimes joke that there's a big central vat of the stuff that most Chinese restaurants dip into, and this was from that vat. It was fine, but nothing special.
The spring roll was very crisp, very oily, and very, very cold. Not freezer cold, mind you, just "we pre-made this a long, long time ago" cold. It tasted... okay, I guess. Mostly, there was cabbage in it, as you might expect. If there was anything else, I didn't detect it.
Then, there was the tofu. It came out piping hot, redolent with red oil, garlic, ginger, broad beans, and hua jiao. Oh, and it was very, very good, if a bit salty. My only complaint would probably be the excessive size of the cubes of tofu. This, I'd get again.
So, I ingested three items, one lousy, one okay, and one very good. I'm missing the old management.
Has anyone else tried the new Red Pepper? I'm curious what others' experiences might have been...
Just found your post while searching to see if anyone had tried the new incarnation of Red Pepper yet. My Chinese co-worker was telling me about it yesterday and described it as "sensational" (she is also big fan of Sichuan Gourmet). Your post doesn't seem very promising. However, she was there for dinner and asked the owner to recommend her 3 best dishes, so maybe that is the approach to take. Will have to try it based on her rec and do the same thing...
Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought the name had changed? Or maybe just the Chinese name? A lot of my Chinese friends only seem to know restaurants by there Chinese names.