Red’s Place opened last year on North Aurora Street, which is colloquially known as Restaurant Row. It has had to compete with establishments like Viva Taqueria, Mahogany Grill, Ithaca Ale House, and Mercato. We found ourselves at Red’s one Monday evening, interested in trying this new restaurant.
The outdoor dining area was nearly filled, so we opted for a seat inside. We were seated quickly and looked around the restaurant: quilted booths, a wood-paneled accent wall, and drinks written out on a chalkboard column definitely lived up to the “unique dining pub” claim.
The menu was very casual, featuring appetizers, salads, flatbreads, burgers, and sandwiches. We started with the “Pot of Gold,” which featured charred ciabatta with ricotta and chili tomato sauce. It tasted like a cross between pizza and bruschetta; tasty, but not outstanding.
For the main dish, we ordered the farm salad and the turkey burger. The salad was a huge portion—we definitely recommend sharing. The vinaigrette dressing was a little too heavy-handed, but we loved the crunch from the sunflower seeds. Also included in the salad were peas, green beans, peppers, bacon, and gouda—an unexpected combination that nevertheless felt classic.
The turkey burger was undoubtedly the star of the meal; in fact, it was one of the best we’d ever sampled. Topped with arugula, tomato, and garlic aioli, there was cheddar and honey mustard mixed in with the meat. The result was a curious but deliciously sweet, warm burger, which helped offset the sharp, sour salad dressing. We were sad to polish it off. As a side, we chose sweet potato fries (it is a universally acknowledged truth that you cannot go wrong with sweet potatoes). Usually, burger-and-fry portions are too generous, but the size of this dish was perfect: filling, but not stuffing.
Red’s also offers desserts, but we decided to pass this time because (a) we were full, and (b) none of them seemed to offer any unique flavors. Overall, this appears to be a recurring theme with Red’s Place: a hit-or-miss gamble between something outstanding and something underwhelming. Everything is $15 or less, making it a solid choice for those on a low- to mid-range budget. We’re interested in trying more of the menu, though. All we need is for the Tattler to create a dining allocation to sponsor our culinary adventures. …
11:30 a.m.–10 p.m., Su–W; 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m., Th–Sat
107 N Aurora St, Ithaca, NY 14850