Asian Restaurants

Red House

1465 S State St. Ste 10
Salt Lake City , UT . 84115
801 821-3622

Behind the Red Door

When you are ready to channel your inner Anthony Bourdain and explore the “Parts Unknown” of Salt Lake, then you are in for a treat, because I have found a place for you. In the heart of sketchville Salt Lake just down from the infamous Wayne’s Corner you will find a sense of unease as you wade through the crack-heads, dealers, pros and transients to a mecca of asian oddities that will transform you to the Shit filled streets of Shanghai’s Red light District; but rest assured, among all this mayhem is some of the most authentic Chinese you will find in Salt Lake. From Little World that gets shut down from the Health Department at least once a year to Tosh’s Ramen which will make you rethink soup as a meal, this small strip is littered with Chinese authenticity. Today though we are venturing to the Red House and experiencing their niche of Mandarin cooking.

As we pulled into the strip of asian bistro’s and approached the Red House, we were met by a mangy guy leaning up against the wall sucking down a cigarette faster than a chimney backdraft. We asked him what the difference was between the two restaurant here, Red House or Cafe Anh Hong? He said well one is Mandarin and the other Cantonese pointing to each as he mentioned the cuisine. We noticed he was a the cook and asked where he worked and he said he worked “Right here.” pointing to Red House. So we inquired is it any good? To which the man responded unenthusiastically “… well,… if you like mandarin I guess.” Not too convinced of the cooks remarks, we agreed to enter the Red House to see what lie ahead.

We were greeted by a nearly empty restaurant with only 2 other patrons sitting at a table finishing up their meal and the menu board was written all in Chinese hanzi. With a sigh of relief we knew that this was going to be an authentic experience not to forget. We fumbled through the menu, guessing at what the dishes actually meant. The waiter was of little help but very entertaining on an Eeyore level. We asked what the difference between the Hot and Sour soup and Hot and Spicy soup was. His response was classic, “Well, … we don’t have the Hot and Sour soup.” After a beat of silence we assumed that was definitely the difference between the two and ordered a bowl of the Hot and Spicy soup. More difficult questions to come such as what are in the pot sticker and dim sum looking things in this photo, to which the same response was given “we don’t have those either.” Looking around at the empty buffet and buckets of ice about, we assumed we must have missed the lunch rush even though it was still only 1:00. Going out on a limb we asked about the Chongqing chicken, he said it was basically fried chicken. Well we didn’t want to come in to an authentic mandarin place for some KFC so we went with the Szechuan Beef.

The hot and spicy soup was reminiscent of Pho, served in an oversized bowl packed with beef and vegetables and thick handmade egg noodles with an amazing broth which was seasoned superbly. Each spoonful was a delight as the tender beef melted in your mouth releasing the flavor of the broth it had been simmering in for hours. The noodles were nearly a quartet inch thick and flavorful beyond any standard noodle, definitely a better choice than the vermicelli rice noodle option available. This was a safe dish welcoming of a newbie looking for fresh ingredients in a vintage recipe.

Pure magic in each bite kept the Szechuan Beef new and exciting throughout the meal. Waiting for the meal to come out I kept my mouth lubed with a few sips of my water. (I would not recommend this option in future visitations.) As I scoured through he rice and beef dish hunting out the red chili pods and moving them to a safe location on the plate. Piling on a few scoops to my plate I found succulent jalapeños, carrot slices, onions and huge wood ear mushrooms accompanied the spicy beef and pool of red chili oil surrounded the residue of the serving plate. With the first bite a subtle calming warmth coated the mouth and I knew I was in for a great time. Taking precaution I took another sip of my water but to my amazement my mouth went into spasms as it reacted like a soda water, fizzy to the mouth but the flavor of dirty dishwater. Cautiously I continued on with my meal and the flavor was askew. In a panic I sipped a little more water as the sensation continued almost like sucking on a battery. I didn’t care what was going on with he water, the food was too delicious and curious with each bite as the heat continued to grow and lips numbing, the flavor changed. Complicated in the simplicity of this dish the curiosity of the chameleon-esque event kept me entertained, as every bite was different than the previous, no two bites were the same.
– Funky - 2016.04.04


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