Monday, July 25, 2011

Red Lantern - Great drinks in an amazing space!

Whenever I go out to dinner or drinks with friend, being the blogger they always look to me for recommendations on where to go. So, when I was meeting two of my friends on a recent weeknight, I thought of Red Lantern because I heard a couple of great reviews about the space and food. When I arrived, my friend M was already there enjoying an 88 martini at the corner of the bar.

88 - Ketel Oranje, Domaine de Canton Ginger Cognac and Prosecco
I had looked at the drink menu earlier in the day and was having trouble making a decision, but when I saw a drink with sriracha I was completely intrigued. I turned to the bartender for help - how spicy was this drink? She was more than helpful and ready to adjust the amount of spice in the drink depending on how spicy I wanted it, so I went for it!

Dragon Fire - Ketel One, St. Germaine, Mango Nectar and Sriracha
The drink definitely had plenty of spice to it, but also had a nice flavor and not just spice. I will say though, I really could only have one of these - they are not for the faint of heart. Our other friend, S, joined up with us as I was getting my drink and rather than sitting at a table in the dining room we decided to stay at the bar - we had a great corner seat, plenty of room for food, and it was not too crowded.

Dining Room
I did poke around the whole restaurant to grab some pictures because the space is so striking - extremely high ceilings with amazing light fixtures and other eye grabbing pieces throughout. While the space is huge, they have done a nice job decorating and making it feel more intimate.

The menu has a wide variety of food, including a large Chinese and Japanese section. Even though it all looked good, we stuck to the Chinese side on this evening, and rather than going for entrees we decided to split a number of the smaller plates. The first dish we received was the Lobster Rangoon.

Lobster Rangoon - crispy wonton, sweet soy and sliced scallion
The rangoon were tasty - nice and crispy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside. I wish there was a stronger lobster flavor, but still the cream cheese on the inside was not too overpowering. Of course we also had to order the spicy lettuce wraps.

Spicy Lettuce Wraps - Iceberg, cashews, dried chili, wok glazed chicken, and vegetables
The chicken filing had a great flavor and a nice spiciness. The other accompaniments were fresh and paired well with the spicy chicken. For the three of us, there was plenty of the filling and the lettuce wraps to go around - no need to order any extras.

Continuing our ordering through each section of the menu, we went with the Duck Egg Roll, which I think was my favorite dish of the evening.

Duck Egg Roll - 10 Spice Duck Confit, Napa Cabbage, and a Apricot Hoisin
Each bite was delicious - great texture and flavor combinations. The duck was moist and tender, and a perfect contrast to the crispy outer shell. The cabbage was a perfect topping to the dish.

Bar Area
After finishing my first drink, I switched to my favorite Asian beer, Tsingtao, which I survived on when I was in Hong Kong. I reminisce whenever I take a sip! Unlike Fosters in Australia, they actually serve this beer in China!

After a great first round of food, we took a little break before diving back in for some more. The bartender was nice enough to let us sit and enjoy, without pressuring us to keep ordering. Finally, we ordered some Wagyu Beef Fried Rice.

Wagyu Beef Fried Rice
According to the menu, the fried rice is a secret family recipe of the chef's, made with egg, scallion, sesame oil, fresh veggies, and bean sprout. The rice was fresh and tasty and not overly oily by any means. We went with the wagyu because I was curious to see how it would be in a dish like this. It definitely added great flavor, but I think the rice was such a strong base that I'm not sure I would pay extra for the wagyu again. I think the other additions would be just as tasty without the added cost.

Finally we decided we should probably mix a little green into our dinner, so we ordered a side of the wok bok choy and garlic. The veggies provided a nice contrast of all the other delicious carbs we had loaded up on. They were cooked well and had a nice flavor, making me want to eat my veggies, that's for sure!

Bok Choi
The bar at Red Lantern was a great place to catch up with M and S and just enjoy a weekday evening out. The staff was very knowledgeable about the menu, even for only having only just opened. We sampled a lot of delicious food and really only put a small dent in one portion of the menu - I still have to go back and try their sushi selection! Maybe I will take that opportunity to go sit in the beautiful main dining room section.

It is really a pleasure to see Stanhope Street coming back to life after being somewhat down and out for a bit. After having a great meal at Zocalo and now Red Lantern, I will definitely be returning to the area.

Red Lantern on Urbanspoon


  1. I've been curious about Red Lantern! sounds like a fun night at the bar.

  2. I've been curious about Red Lantern too!!! Can't wait to try it!

  3. Ill join the crowd on the curiosity of Red Lantern-great review!

  4. A drink with sriracha? Love!

  5. It sounds like you had a great dinner. As much as I love St. Germain, I'm not sure I could handle the sriracha in that drink. I'm definitely a wimp!

  6. Wow, the dragon fire sounds intriguing... Can't believe sriracha mixology hasn't caught on more!


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