Cleveland: Everything about Redd Stone says greasy bar food, from the neon red “open” sign to the smell of fried chicken wings that’s like a punch to the nose as you enter to Lynyrd Skynyrd turned up a little too loud on the jukebox. Snagging the last table on a Tuesday night, a beer and 15-cent wings sounded perfect.
Then we got the menu. It was the one thing in the joint that didn’t scream typical tavern grub. The wings were a lost thought.
The usual nachos, loaded fries and buttermilk-soaked chicken tenders were among the starters, but the more creative comforts, some with an Asian flair, are worth a try. Crepes ($9), filled with crispy chunks of duck confit and drizzled with barbecue sauce, sour cream, and black bean and corn salsa, blend sweet and tangy flavors with hearty dark meat. Chicken couldn’t have tasted this good. A five-spice beef noodle ($9), made with flank steak and Asian veggies, is every bit as spicy as the Saigon sauce warns.
Among the entrees, two words caught our attention in the buttermilk-fried chicken with mashed potatoes ($15): Guinness gravy. The breading was good, the chicken tender and the potatoes creamy, but the bold stout taste of the gravy stole the plate. The autumn burger ($10) with pumpkin dust, thin-sliced apples and fontina cheese was well done; however, the apples gave the burger a vinegary taste that wasn’t bad but took some getting used to. Sweet potato fries ($1 extra) were worth the splurge. So is the extra buck to add fried egg to any of Redd Stone’s seven burgers.
There’s a lot going on at this Battery Park hideaway, enough to satisfy cravings for bar or comfort food, live music (hosted upstairs), or a place to hang and have a beer. Next time, we’re headed back for 10-cent taco Thursday. 1261 W. 76th St., Cleveland, 216-651-6969, thereddstone.com