Red Pepper; The Phoenix Rises from the Ashes!
Red Pepperi is back, and The Commodore and I couldn't be happier. After a few months in limbo, where the original owners sold, and it became half Brazilian, and then wallowed around looking for a new business plan, we started going again about three weeks ago.
Three take-out orders that were actually very high quality, even tho they were for Moo Shi, and noodles with chili sauce. Now, I know better than to judge a Sichuan restaurant by its Moo Shi, but this was REALLY good. A little unorthodox, because it had some shredded pea pods mixed in, but all the real stuff was there; they used Napa cabbage, which gave it a lot of fresh flavor and texture, and all the traditional dried ingredients. It was a few bucks more than other choices in town, but so superior that even the normally frugal TC went back and got some on his own.
Last night we went for a sit down dinner, as a treat after I stood on my feet all day serving Mediterranean appetizers to 200 of my closest friends.
The place was brightly lit, vibrant, and full of Chinese (ALL) families and couples, talking, laughing, eating, enjoying. A few kids were running around, for which the hostess immediately came over and apologized. No problem, we felt right at home immediately.
I had been jonesing for Fish Fillets in Chili Oil, and had to try theirs for my main. A little less pool of oil than the usual, and less handsful of dried chilis on top, but lots of fish, lots of flavor, and lots of heat. The Napa Cabbage, tender, and cut into pieces, was buried under the fish.TC got Mongolian Beef, ("If it's good enough for Genghis Khan, it's good enough for me!") which he requested wimpified. No problem. Untrathin slices of well-marinated beef, the tough, but flavorful cut they used was rendered tender and just slightly toothsome by the cooking technique, and had, according to TC "Perfectly cooked onions" and fresh scallions.
In their only glitch, service was such that our delicious scallion pancake (second to Taiwan Cafe, but excellent nontheless) came out with my entree, and our cold dish of Three threads Salad (Seaweed, glass noodles and shredded pea pods) came out after everything else. Oh well...
Lots more dishes to try on the menu, a whole section of poached dishes in chili oil, a whole section of hot pots, and a whole section of dishes with preserved peppers. One menu special listed duck with some kind of tofu made of newt powder, if I can credit the translation of the hostess. She had been consulting the Googles for ingredient translations, and seemed to have copied down some of the Latin.
So, I'm lovin' this place again, and I'm really happy to have it around, for Saturday nights in Framingham.
ETA: I forget it was Red PEPPER, I obviously had chilis on the brain!
Though this thread is one year old, I am happy to hear Red Pepper has its fans. There is a small backstory to share.
Around a year ago, Red Pepper hired a chef who worked in an excellent Sichuan restaurant in a strip mall in Exton, PA (a suburb of Philadelphia). My Chinese in-laws were sad to see him go because the food there has gone downhill. When they visit Labor Day weekend, I hope to make the pilgrimmage out there and skip Sichuan Gourmet for a change.
Once again, a fab meal at Red Pepper for TC and I. We really haven't been there that much, but they always remember us...
There were a lot of interesting specials; several kinds of eeel (which we got there too late for) and Dong Po pork...They also seem to be serving a cold dish of FIERY pickled cabbage, which I saw on other tables, and asked for...Needless to say, I ahad the whole thing to myself, becasue of Mr.Wimpy..
We shared an order of thier very good scallion pancakes, then TC went with Beef Dish with Sweet Bean sauce, which he adored, and I finally got a chance to sample a fish dish from the Pickled Pepper section of the menu, which they served as hot as blazes, despite my gaijin staus...They said it's a very traditional style of cooking, with preserved jalapeno-type peppers and lots of saltiness, which I couldn't quite detect. Must have been the heat! Nice fish fillet pieces sit-fried in a light, not too oily sauce spiked with the peppers, and a little chili oil, or maybe the peppers colored the regular oil, hard to say...
Redpepper Chinese Restaurant
17 Edgell Rd, Framingham, MA
gg, your posts keep making me hang my head in shame that I haven't been back to Red Pepper since "the limbo" straightened up. The cabbage sounds great, and I'm so impressed that you got the full heat treatment with your fish dish. A burning question...was the fish tilapia-like?
The beef dish sounds like something my more conservative husband would enjoy, too. Maybe I can convince him to head there on one of our Monday night cheap eats forays.
The fish ooked like it _could_ have been tilapia, but seemed to be in smaller pieces than that is usually served, and not as thick. I'm actually not a tilapia fan, because of the muddiness i can always detect (and they use it in their chili-oil fish), but I couldn't detect that here..I usually have to go with it anyway, because so many Asian places use it as their default now. God, give me a good piece of juicy, farm-raised catfish, and I'd be much happier.