tofu and green beans
This little spot in the Village Shopping Center has been searching the past year for its proper Pan-Asian calling. First it was Shabu Hot Pot & Noodle Bar, then it was Kiwami Ramen, and now it’s Szechuan Red Pepper. In each case, the interior has remained mostly the same, but the focus of the menu has shifted from hot pots to ramen to Chinese. We stopped in on the Pepper and were impressed.
The egg drop soup was salty-delicious ($3.50 for cup) as were the dumplings (choice of boil or sear and veggie or pork; $6 for six). The spicy Szechuan garlic sauce with chicken ($14) wasn’t all that spicy (although I’m halfway dead inside from living in New Mexico for half a decade…), but it was rich and tasty. The pleasant surprise was the stir fried green beans with tofu perfectly cooked like thick-cut French fries: crispy-crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Like any good cowboy, I do not reach for tofu at the table, but I earned some well-deserved chopstick welts from rustling up some nutty bean curd from the bride’s serving plate.
Like any good neighborhood Chinese joint, portions were large and doggybaggable. The green beans and tofu scrambled up deliciously the next morning for breakfast tacos graffiti’d with Yellowbird’s blue agave sriracha.
Red Pepper pitches itself as “casually sophisticated.” This is not high-end dining, but it’s also not a dive with a modernish interior recently raised with red lanterns. Through the transitions, the seats have gotten a bit tired and worn, something I would address before tossing using ‘sophisticated.’ Nonetheless, as a neighborhood Chinese joint, the Red Pepper is sizzling!
web&where: interwebs; 2700 west anderson lane; menu
what’s the deal? Neighborhood Chinese food; table service
overall: ** (food**; drink*; atmosphere**; service**; instagrammability**)
does it scramble? Yes!
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]