Red Hot Kitchen (Closed)

Date
15 Jul 2011
Cuisine
Asian
Cost
Average Cost ($8-$14)
Location
West Huntsville
Rating
3 out of 5
Red Hot Kitchen

Melanie’s Take

I first noticed this spot while driving down University Drive. Its sign read “Asian-Mex Fusion”, so I was intrigued. Although I typically also noticed few to no cars in the parking lot, Shane and I took our chances and stepped inside for a new experience. The menu was massive. There are many items to choose from including burritos, quesadillas, and tacos. Once you choose an item, you also choose the type of meat and the preparation. Being overwhelmed with the menu, I asked the worker behind the counter where you order to suggest something. He was reluctant to suggest anything, which is a black mark in my book, but after being coaxed, he suggested the traditional burrito with shredded chicken. I was so happy that he’d finally made a suggestion that I took his advice.

Burrito

As we sat in a booth and waited for our food, I was bumfuzzled by the atmosphere of this place. Each section of the store seemed to be painted a different color, yet it had a sterile feeling to it. I don’t particularly remember getting any sort of vibe other than a strange one. I also don’t recall hearing any music, which wasn’t helping the sterile feel. Our food soon arrived to provide a distraction, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t impressive either. My burrito was huge, but was just a chicken burrito made with shredded chicken, black beans, rice, and lettuce. It had none of the strength of flavor that you might expect from a mexican or an asian dish. I actually only ate half. The chips and queso that were served as part of the combo were good, but they were nothing special either. So, for my part, the fusion concept was lost on me. In addition, the combo topped the price of one at Little Rosie’s, reason enough for me not to return.

Shane’s Take

A lot of hard science is being done in restaurants today. Fusions are everywhere: French/American fusion, Thai/Chinese fusion, taco/hot dog fusion, and the list goes on. Not to be left out, Huntsville has the sorta-new Red Hot Kitchen performing “Asian-Mex Fusion” on University Drive. Curious and optimistic about the unusual mix of Asian and Mexican food, we decided to check it out. Interior of Red Hot Kitchen

Despite its drab, almost uninviting exterior, the interior of the store is bright and pleasant. With wide aisles, numerous booths, and large countertops of condiments and drinks, it feels open and roomy. The bright recessed lights and festive colors make for a festive and casual atmosphere, something like a happier version of the old TCBY on Airport Road. Other than the smell of we’re-barely-making-ends-meet, I really liked the atmosphere. It was simple, fun, and enjoyable. My main dish—Asian style braised short rib tacos—was good, but the side items lacked character. The rib meat had a nice flavor, and the tacos, prepared in small soft corn tortillas like they do at El Cazador, were flavorful. The Asian sauce, some sort of sweet thickened soy sauce, also tasted good and was an interesting compliment to an otherwise straighforwardMexican dish. The side items were less interesting. The chips were simply chips, the cheese dip was nothing special, and the beans were hospital cafeteria bland. On the whole, the meal was decent but unfortunately forgettable.
Small Tacos
So, Huntsville’s first attempt at fusing two cuisines didn’t work for me. The atmosphere was cool and the food fair, but I’m not compelled to return. Lower prices and tastier sides might woo me, but there are many places I’d rather try before coming back. Unfortunately, I doubt they’ll be open when I’m ready to return. Other thoughts:
  • If you’re looking for a lunchtime mix of Moe’s, Shaggy’s, and Oriental Express, this is your place.
  • They have a salsa bar, which we did not notice until walking out the door. I don’t know what’s on it (salsa?) or how it works, but it looked interesting.
  • Huntsville is 3 for 4 on this decade’s food fads: Food fusion? Check. Self-serve yogurt? Check. Cupcakes? Check. Gourmet Burgers? Maybe Big Spring Cafe?
Bonus! 5 Improvements That Will Help Red Hot Kitchen Survive:
  • Spruce up the porch.
  • Add a feature item to the menu, preferably something awesome.
  • Reduce the menu selection by 20%. If you offer a delicious Asian taco, don’t worry about adding a Mexican taco just for completeness.
  • Reduce all prices by 15%.
  • Hide the Crock Pot of cheese dip.
Red Hot Kitchen: Asian-Mex Fusion on Urbanspoon

2 Responses

  1. Amy Norris

    My bro-in-law went to this restaurant on Friday for lunch. He said to order the fish tacos. They were fabulous. 🙂

  2. Shane & Melanie

    Amy, We’ll have to try the fish taco if we make it back in. We are obsessed with the fish taco at Phil’s. Have you tried it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *