It was move-in day, and after hours of unpacking and rearranging, my dad and I were starving. What better place than The Commons to grab a bite to eat? Next door to my dad’s favorite spot, The Ithaca Ale House, there stood a new restaurant that I had heard about called Red’s Place. Located on North Aurora Street, this eatery had only opened in May.
On the outside, the décor matched the name. Red awnings cover the red tables and chairs that are enclosed on the sidewalk with red chains. Red.
Making our way inside to take a look at the menu, there were some unhappy customers vocalizing several flaws to a server on the patio. One customer was complaining about the incompetency of the restaurant as a whole because the chef could not prepare a proper salad.
Foul statements about the food made us feel iffy. My father, Big Joe, was getting hangry so we looked at each other, chose to give Red’s the benefit of the doubt, and had a seat. That type of first impression could be a little off-putting to those who have more time and less of an appetite, but we could dismiss some spotty service if there was promise for delicious food.
Luckily, the promise was fulfilled with a tasty meal. I ordered a fish market club sandwich made with blackened Mahi Mahi topped with smoked bacon, fresh guacamole, arugula and tomato, all on an Ithaca Bakery sub roll with a roasted corn salad on the side that was to die for. The fish was noticeably fresh with a powerful peppery flavor. Red’s guacamole was bright green with chunks of onion, garlic and tomato just the way it should be. Arugula and tomato added a subtle but necessary crunch to the sandwich.
My dad went the safer route, in the event that things could go wrong, by ordering the Aurora Street burger that came with French fries in their own tiny fry basket. The basket was an excellent distinctive touch to the average side of fries. My dad’s burger was no joke either. Cooked to medium well perfection, the fat patty sat atop an evenly toasted Kaiser roll that could hold all the goodness. Roasted garlic aioli sauce was drizzled over yellow cheddar cheese that melted over thick citrus bacon with a supreme smoke flavor. Honestly, it was a surprise that we had nothing to complain about. It was that good.
The inside of the eatery did a great job at maintaining the theme of red. A combination of red, black and wood panel walls with dim lights and intimate booth seating complimented the dark, contrasting color scheme. The whole restaurant was essentially one open room: kitchen, bar, and dining area where everyone could see everything. High ceilings and a shiny tiled floor created a unique dining experience with all of the elements combined.
Sitting quietly between two restaurant hot spots in The Commons, Red’s Place offers a unique experience with twists on American dishes that are worth a try.