Bold and creative flavors anchor the menu at downtown Ithaca's new Red's Place

September 10, 2014 by Mark H. Anbinder

This week we're visiting Red's Place, a new eatery on Restaurant Row. Opened by the folks who own Corks & More wine bar, Red's bills itself as a gastropub, and the bold and creative flavors certainly fit the bill.

Pulled duck salad made a satisfying lunch at Red's Place.Pulled duck salad made a satisfying lunch at Red's Place.Red's Place started small and built up their menu slowly over a span of a couple of months, but it's pretty complete now -- and there are usually a few specials on a chalkboard in back. One recent summery lunch special was a tomato watermelon salad that landed on the regular menu, and a hearty pulled duck salad came with butter lettuce, potato salad and crisp green beans. Looking ahead to cool weather, they're trying out a grown-up grilled cheese and tomato soup combo.

Bucket. Of. Bacon.Bucket. Of. Bacon.The menu ranges from vegan to seriously meaty, and the appetizer list shows both ends of the spectrum. Try the crispy samosas with curry sauce, or try the heart attack: a sharable bucket of citrus peppered bacon strips with a maple glaze. Yes, I said a bucket of bacon.

There must be a rule somewhere that says figs and goat cheese must appear together. Fine by us.There must be a rule somewhere that says figs and goat cheese must appear together. Fine by us.Speaking of sharable, the flatbreads are fun to split if you want to try a little of everything, or of course you can have one all to yourself. Try the applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onion, goat cheese, and fig glaze, or the marinated portobello and artichoke flatbread. The five-spice BBQ pulled short rib sliders are tangy and tender, and topped with sriracha slaw.

Red's has a burger menu ranging from beef to crab cake to turkey to grilled portobello, with sides like fries or dijon horseradish slaw or roasted corn salad. I didn't feel the 1/3 pound burger quite lived up to its hefty price, but the lamb burger, served with tzatziki sauce, was much more appealing.

On our last visit, the sandwich list had a new item... a chicken and waffle sandwich! This winner had sriracha-spiked maple syrup on the side for a blend of sweet and spicy.

Lots of what Red's offers is made with items from local farms, which is nice to see at an affordable neighborhood bistro. The service on our first few visits has been friendly if inexpert, but we're inclined to chalk that up to growing pains and give them time to settle in.

Plan on spending $15-25 a person. Find Red's Place at 107 North Aurora Street in Downtown Ithaca, or give them a call at 607-319-4486 and tell them you heard about them here.

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