Was greeted at the door......by a guy throwing up - no apologies from staff who just matched my slightly surprised look - took the edge off a good burger
Red Dog Saloon
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Thu Jun 23 2011
The barbecue trend is gathering pace in London following the opening of Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa, then the Pitt Cue Co and Anna Mae's food trucks. Bodean's has been dishing up reliable US barbecue at its four London sites for several years now, and remains the leader in the field. And now Red Dog has coralled its wagons in Hoxton Square for a piece of the action.
It's billed as an 'authentic' barbecue restaurant, but on our visit it had run out of its main sell – pulled pork – on a quiet Monday evening. So we had to make do with the rest of the menu we were given, which was a lot more sparse than the one displayed on the Red Dog website.
A large chunk of the food offer is made up of burgers, something a real US barbecue joint wouldn't bother with, and which feels a bit of a cop-out here. With a new Byron about to open just over Hoxton Square, the burgers will have to be perfect to compete – but the signature Red Dog burger had little meaty taste about it, and was served rare instead of the promised medium rare.
The only ribs were St Louis cut pork, and we were given two for £12.50 – no offer of a half or full rack, no beef short ribs, and no choice of 'wet' or 'dry' as most good barbecue places in the US South would have (either with barbecue sauce or a spice rub respectively). The ribs themselves were good though, and came with authentically smoky beans and sausage.
Desserts, too, were a disappointment – the menu promised a 'pie of the day' or chocolate brownie, but neither were available. There is a decent choice of US craft beers, and the bar specialises in margaritas.
Red Dog had only been open a couple of weeks when we visited, but there was nothing that would inform the average customer the menu might not yet be finalised. It may hit its stride with time, but for now there are better places in London to put some South in your mouth.
Red Dog Saloon 37 Hoxton Square
Average User Rating
2.2 / 5
- 5 star:3
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:9
If it wasn't for the Spare Ribs, I would bother with this place, but it has to be said that they are good. Unfortunately that where it ends for this restaurant. Terrible service (no pleasentries, no interest, no acknowlegement to be fair). Bodeans have been knocking out decent BBQ food in London for years and are probably under acknowledged in the current 'trend'. The main difference between The Red Dog Saloon and Bodeans, is that Bodeans also exports the American service ethic, which is no bad thing in this instance. It's a shame that Bodeans sometimes over smoke their Spare Ribs, which can make them a little tough, but when they get it right, it's perfection, everything else on the Menu is probably better at Bodeans as standard, including the portion sizes. A note to Red Dog Saloon, when your restaurant first opened I tried to book on a saturday night and was told there would be a 4 week waiting list, I went last night and was seated in 10 minutes. Bodeans has been open for 10 years and there is a 1.5 hour wait for a table every weekend (thank god for the Barrio Central a couple of doors down to keep you entertained during the wait). London has voted with it's feet, in no small part because of the terrible service at Red Dog Saloon.
Appalling service. About as much atmosphere as a pizza chain restaurant in a shopping mall. Lacklustre food - my burger tasted of microwaved Burger King takeaway. Did I mention the service? Do yourself a favour and grab a kebab on the corner rather than wasting your money here. If you really want a burger or barbecue then there are at least 10 other options that do it 100 times better than this place.
A genuinely terrible attempt at a barbecue restaurant. Unauthentic, no atmosphere, and poor service to add to the overpriced, small portions provided. Bodeans is genuinely a million times better. Don't waste your time or money on this place.
Last night I had the worst burger that I've had in a very long time. I don't normally write reviews but this place really takes the piss. The staff were indifferent and rude, the food was worse than average and a pint of beer costs £5. I guess the management rely on the constant foot traffic to fill the place with first timers because I can't imagine anyone going back for a second time. Truly awful.
After booking a table and then being told we could only have it for 1 hour before the next group arrived, we were quickly made to order. The burgers arrived within 5 minutes of placing the order. I ordered the Devestator, mash and firery beans. Everything was cold. The bun appeared to have been microwaved or something... I sent it back and it arrived again Luke warm. Average taste, wouldnt bother going here again. Also, make sure you dont need to use the toilets whilst here.. they are disgusting!
Having tried the best that London has to offer in BBQ and being in the food business myself, initially I found the website appealing and the menu tempting, however, the meal was very disappointing. It took ages for anyone to serve us, finally we were approached by an 18 year old female waitress who was stumped when we asked her about the variation of wings and she said she has to ask somone else, I noticed she then delivered two orders to the wrong tables, basically the management have not got a clue. Luckily Red Saloon receive a steady flow of business, but I am not sure how much repeat business they get, the food was tasteless and the worst burger I have had in a long time. Overall I couldn't wait to get out of there, it cannot be that hard to get it right, can it?
If your after good food, good service and good prices DONT go to red saloon. Read the reviews here, its a very poor experience. Much better at Meat Liquor or Dukes.
Worst meal out in a long time... took 20 minutes for anyone to even notice that we were sat at our table waiting. When a server finally acknowledged us he complained about how he "had been been better, what with working two doubles in a row". Made us feel slightly guilty for even being sat there. Food took an hour to arrive, when it did, one order was wrong, and everything was cold. The pulled pork was dry, and the ribs tough and tasteless. The manager didn't seem particularly bothered when we told him we'd like to leave our food, so we paid the bill for our drinks. Upon leaving a member from the stag do next to us had to be rescued from being sick on our table, we decided to finish our drinks outside. Whilst stood outside, the stag from said party was dragged out by his two friends completely annihilated with trousers round his ankles leaving little to the imagination... a funny story to tell but not my idea of a nice meal out.
Overall the experience was good. It's a great location in a part of London I like to visit. The premises themselves are well decorated, cool (upstairs and downstairs) even on a warm evening, and there are plenty of staff. The atmosphere in the place is good with a lot of chatter and music - you have to almost raise your voice to have a conversation but not so much that you're shouting! We were greeted by the very friendly Maître D, who had a great sense of humour and made jokes about our missing dining partner (3 attended a booking for 4 which was not an issue), and all of the staff were cheerful, attentive and in good humour. Our waiter cocked up the order - first he showed up with no notepad, and was cocky enough to take the order anyway - any good waiter should be able to do this, however the BBQ Wings came out as Buffalo wings - we decided not send them back as we enjoy buffalo wings, and they were damn good wings! Not sure about "best wings in London" but they were almost worthy of the title. Two of us had a rib dinner (5 St Louis cut ribs - seperated, with two sides - choices including beans, meaty beans, mac n cheese, fries, onion rings). One of the rib dinners came out without Fries but with coleslaw instead. Due to immense hunger at this point we decided not to kick up a fuss, and the coleslaw was really good. The ribs were OK - certainly not "award winning", they were tender in places, tough in others, but the flavour was very good. Main criticism was that they were over charred - too much carbon! I'm just not a fan of the st louis cut of Rib, much prefer baby back - so maybe I am biased. Our other dining companion had the "Devastator" burger which is basically 1.5lbs of meat, loads of cheese, sauce all between steamed brioche - I have to say that this looked absolutely incredible. They clearly understand the burger. Overall it was a good experience. We'd go back but we wouldn't have the Ribs again. The burger and wings were superb. Alex.
Rudest hostess ever, made us feel so unwelcome we didn't even stay to find out about the food! Don't go without a reservation.
This place is a victim from success. Too packed! But I do understand why : Food is really good (I have tried few burgers - fries - milkshakes) price is very attractive, while portions are ok. After that you may have to wait a bit to get a seat, and your orders, trust me it worth it! Don't go there if you are in rush
I wish I could say what I thought about the food but after waiting for over an hour for our order we left. Staff were initially apologetic, although disingenuously so, and service deteriorated from there. Atmosphere was lacking. Toilets were pretty grotty. And it felt like there was a complete absence of any management. Plenty of other choices for good American style barbecue in London thankfully.
The food was actually quite good, we thought we would try this place following our old favorite "The Big Easy" going a little downhill. We were excited, we had a guest over from the states, but after getting there, we waited 50mins for drinks, our starters came with our mains...almost...one main came out 15mins after the rest. When service is bad it makes you over critical of the food (underseasoned burgers and cooked medium well not med-rare). Pulled pork was great tho! I think the reason for this was our waitress, I'm not sure if she was new or just inept, but she couldn't deal with the complaint, and said they were very busy. I expect they were, it was a Saturday night...not an excuse! The manager apologised, and knocked some money off, which we were not looking for, but eased the experience. I am all about second chances, and will visit again, if I'm over that way, but will not travel from Windsor again for a special occasion! I was really hoping it would be great...maybe next time! I'm sure this was just one of those things.
Things must have changed between your reviewer and my visits. I had buffalo wings and then ribs and it was amazing. Portions were good, large selection of imported beers, great waiting staff and a cool atmosphere. Less cramped and manic than my experience in Bodeans . Great place for a dinner with mates or a celebration. Would recommend, and I'll be back for sure.