Type of Food: American BBQ
Price: £45 - 3 mains + 3 alcoholic drinks
Occasion: Catch Up with friends
Date Visited: May 2015
Date Visited: May 2015
Overall Rating: **** and a half - Very Very Good
This is the place EVERYONE is talking about in Leeds and was definitely missing from the city centre which is dominated by mediocre chain restaurants and few good quality independent restaurants. I've been trying to come here a few times but there booking policy doesn't half make it difficult. Either way I finally made it (but not until 9:30 mind!).
Red's is busy. Like ALWAYS busy. They seem to have got the hype just about right but not fallen into the trap of trying to pile too many people into a small space at the expense of atmosphere and quality.
The first thing I notice about Red's is the neon signs outside advertising 'Free Smells' or the one above. When you walk inside it's very understated but looks good.
Service is good. Scrap that, excellent. They have obviously tried to replicate the American approach to service to go with the food. You are always greeted by someone (once you've got passed the queue) and they are very attentive when your waiting for your food.
Now to bring up my gripe with Red's - the booking policy. Frankly it's ridiculous and in my opinion not very efficient. You can't book a table - unless your a party of 8 or more in which case you can book during the week. So instead of having people queuing outside they add your name to a list and call you when your times next. Doesn't sound too bad but the last time I've been there have been a couple of empty tables presumably because they are waiting for people to turn up (if they do). On the night we turned up, we arrived at 6:30 and were added to the list for an estimated time of 9:30. There isn't much to do in Leeds at that time except drink and by around 8 I was ready to go somewhere else. In fact last time I put my name on the list I did give up and went to the Cattle Grid around the corner but I had the decency to call and tell them so they weren't waiting around for me and could give the table to someone else. I can imagine that many don't or dawdle. What effectively they have in place is a type of reservation so I don't get why they don't just put a proper reservation system in place! Rant over and unfortunately it's taken a bigger chunk than I intended.
The menu is simple - there isn't loads to choose from but it's just right! There aren't any starters - just 'little plates' to share or wolf down before or at the same time as your main. There signature dish (well I assume it's their signature dish because it's what people talk about the most) is their Donut Burger. Yes. Two burgers with onions, cheese and bacon served between two glazed donuts. Then there's everything you would expect. Hot Links, Brisket, Ribs, Pulled Pork and BBQ Chicken. After the wait, I was ready to be very critical but I had nothing to be critical about. It's all cooked beautifully and the homemade fries are delicious. Red's is definitely not somewhere to go if your on a diet. If you can stomach it after there are a couple of desserts.
Red's had a lot to live up to. But the hype was deserved. Red's is a unique experience in Leeds and if you can handle the wait, or you can turn up early enough to avoid the wait is a great place to eat if not one of the best!