Red Dog Saloon

Scores: H 4

The Red Dog is an American BBQ place right on Hoxton Square.  Hoxton and Shoreditch are starting to see a few serious eateries popping up including the much hyped Clove Club.  Red dog; however, is not one of these it is a place to go on a night out in a big group.  The restaurant is well known for offering two Man V. Food-worthy eating challenges: ‘the devastator’ burger challenge and the naga viper chilli wing challenge.  The restaurant is quite big with both a ground floor and basement dining areas, along with some outside seating.  On a Thursday night the place was completely packed and we had to wait 10 minutes for our table in the basement to be made ready.

A ‘bucket o’ wings’ (£48.75) contained 50 wings, in our case in original Buffalo sauce, although there are also BBQ, and sweet and spicy mustard glazed versions available as well.  These were very good, probable some of the best wings I have had in London.  These were well fried; the sauce seemed to a fairly traditional Buffalo sauce, a combination of hot sauce, vinegar (and/ or citrus juice) and some butter- they were hot, rich and tart.  To be fair for my taste they could have been hotter.  Some jalapeño poppers (£5.75) were apparently pretty standard quality.

Ribs and chicken

Ribs and chicken

As well as the normal wings some naga viper chilli hot wings were stupidly (bravely?) ordered.  I accidentally ate perhaps half of one of these by accident.  Yes by accident, I thought it was normal and I thus was unprepared!  As well as the copious amounts of hot chilli, the sauce also apparently contains garlic, lime, orange and butter; however, all I could taste was pure heat. My month was on fire- it was painful!  The physiological effects would have been quite funny if they weren’t happing to me- I got the hiccups badly for about 30 seconds, and I almost never get the hiccups, also my eyes were streaming… tears were almost dripping off my face.  Thankfully I had reached for the offending wing with a folk and had thus eaten this mouthful by using a knife and folk so at least my hands were spared from the burn (and thus perhaps also my eyes and more of my face).  I would caution anyone thinking about doing the wings challenge as half a wing was too much for me.  After my month had calmed down a bit I did get a bit of an endorphin rush but it was not worth the pain.  A few mouthfuls of a friend’s vanilla milkshake did help cool down my mouth somewhat further.  This was good- quite thick, and obviously containing a high percentage of ice cream.  I think they should probably do a very hot but not napalm hot version of the buffalo wings as I think these would have been a popular option if they were available.

Ribs and chicken (£16.75 with 2 sides) with fries and greens was a reasonably big plate of food but only contained three ribs; on the other hand, a whole slab of pork ribs (£29.75) was gigantic!  The chicken had no real taste but the decent BBQ helped it, while the ribs were not bad at all.  These were decently tender and had some BBQ flavours but lacked the real smokiness and intensity of flavour of good ribs, there was also little good bark.  Burgers (mainly in the region of £7 to £11.50) looked fairly good.  Fries were decently crispy and onion rings were also a good consistency.

BBQ burger

BBQ burger

The service was not the best although they were good at getting drinks pretty quickly and there were no major problems, they had zero idea who had ordered what and mains arrived the moment the starters had been cleared.  They also had run out of Sauvignon Blanc from their tiny selection of wines.  The Red Dog Saloon is a perfectly good place for a night out and suits big groups well, the food here is not bad, in fact the chicken wings are good, but the standard is nowhere near as good as other BBQ places such as BBQ Whisky Beer and some street food places.

2/ 5
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