Food Porn: Red Pepper

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For my first venture into the “food porn” series, I had to review my favorite restaurant in the entire WNY area, The Red Pepper.  This Vietnamese/Chinese hybrid can be found on Maple road in Amherst right between UB and Niagara Falls Boulevard.  I frequent The Red Pepper every Saturday for lunch, and 90% of the time I get the same exact thing, Chicken Rice Noodle Pho.  If you have never indulged in Pho before, you are missing out on one of the greatest dishes in the world.  It is a gigantic bowl of soup (it comes out to be almost two quarts at the Red pepper) with ton of rice noodles, tender chicken, onions, and cilantro, all in an amazingly flavorful broth.  There is also beef, seafood, and wonton pho, which are also very delicious.  This gigantic bowl of soup will only cost you about six bucks, which is a steal.  I have finished the bowl before, but you will most likely bring some home.

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The above picture isn’t actually the pho from Red Pepper, but it is almost identical to what it looks like.  The soup also comes with all sorts of things on the side to add, like bean sprouts, lime, hoisin sauce, and some sort of chili sauce.  All in all, it is an incredible experience.  If you go to the Red Pepper one time, GET THIS.  I’m serious.  If you try anything else I’ll kill you.  However, for your second time back, there are plenty of other tasty things.  Read on.

There are two menus at the Red Pepper, Chinese and Vietnamese.  I won’t bother discussing the Chinese menu much, since it is pretty much what you would expect.  All of the classics are there, but the difference is, they aren’t made in that fast, cheap way that gives you a finished product that just looks all greasy and nasty.  These dishes are presented in a very fresh way, usually with some nice garnish on the side, and are all fantastic.  Easily the best Chinese in the Buffalo area.  Once you have Chinese food from here, you will view everywhere else as a pathetic attempt to create food.  I’m serious.

The Vietnamese menu feautures the Pho, as well as many other authentic dishes.  I recommend the Vietnamese spring roll, which is served in a cold, clear wrapper, unlike its fried Chinese cousin.  It has rice, pork, and spices inside, and comes with a brown sauce for dipping.  Very tasty.  The various stir fry dishes are very reminiscent of Pad Thai, and all the variations are delicious.  Vermicelli is similar to stir fry, but with lettuce mixed in and served in a bowl, with a thinner, spaghetti-like noodle.  I also highly recommend this.  There are also various steamed and stir fry veggie dishes for the health conscious, or people pretending to be health conscious.

Every time I drive the 20-30 minutes to The Red Pepper for lunch, I always wish there was one in Orchard Park, or in the Southtowns at all.  The retaurant is not fancy at all, with wood paneling and not much decor, but it is all about the food.  The restaurant is packed at all times, there have only been a handful of visits that I have not had to wait for a table.  However, the staff is very friendly (even with a few language barrier problems), and the owner is willing to chat and even share some recipe secrets if you’re nice.

If you haven’t checked this place out yet, go ASAP, you won’t regret it.  Hell, give me a call, I’ll go with you!

Red Pepper Chinese-Vietnamese on Urbanspoon

5 thoughts on “Food Porn: Red Pepper

  1. Alli Suriani

    Chris, this place sounds awesome. I drive by it everyonce and a while when Im out at UB but never gave it a second thought. I love Pho and have been dying for more since my last experience with it at Saigon Bangkok. I think Donnie and I will have to join you for lunch there very very soon.

  2. Dan

    I must agree that this place is the best, but Binghamton is lacking in an amazing restaurant like this. Oh wait they don’t really have any good restaurants. Can’t wait to come home and have some amazing Pho soup again. Nice review by the way.

  3. chris

    I am game! Any Saturday or Sunday. I have been known to go there a few days in a row before…

  4. Maria S

    I LOVE this place. Everytime I come to visit I find an excuse to take Mom to lunch. I get the Pho and Mom has Cashew Chicken. Auntie has Ginger Shrimp. Mom and her Senior bowlers all go for lunch twice a month now…. perhaps I should apologize to the staff for starting that habit… and those ladies are seriously PICKY about what they eat and how much they pay! Really, if you can’t cook at home don’t throw your money away on those corporate jokers with microwaves and processed garbage. Red Pepper has the stuff – fresh, real food! No one else gets my hard earned money.

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