RedFarm [Click the photo above to go to Red Farm’s website]
529 Hudson Street (between 10th & Charles Street) New York, NY 10014
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard of Red Farm, a Chinese restaurant in the West Village, with crazy good reviews, but does not take reservations, which just makes it that much harder to get a table. Thanks Red Farm! My friend and I hatched a plan to go to Red Farm Saturday night at around 7:30 to put our names down with an anticipated sitting time of around 8:30-8:45pm.
We were sadly mistaken.
We invited a third to our dinner date (girls night!), but we felt bad telling her we were going to dinner at 7:30 (get ready RIGHT NOW), so we told her we would put our names down, and for her to just take her time and get ready, and then meet us wherever we were when she was done (will she think we’re leaving her out? Do we sound mean? I don’t want her to feel rushed…thoughts coming from every angle. For the record she really didn’t care. It was entirely in our heads). Obviously there was miscommunication (when is it ever easy?), and I didn’t know if I was going with one, sharing a cab with another, meeting another down there…ALMOST a mess, but it was fine.
Ended up sticking to the original plan: I would go with one friend downtown to put our names down, and we would notify our other friend how long the wait was. When we arrived at Red Farm, we see a line.
“Is this the line to be seated?”
“No, this is the line to put your name down.”
I’m sorry what? Let’s talk about pushy New Yorkers on line at a trendy restaurant. Anxiety? Yes. Does this person know we’re on line? Are they cutting us? Are they being seated? WHAT IS HAPPENING?
We see a little girl scoot up to the front table. Maybe her table is ready. Nope, she is putting her name down.
“Excuse me, we have been waiting on line,” said a man in front of us.
“Oh, sorry,” the girl says, but she doesn’t look so sorry, and she remains standing by the host stand.
“Is she going to cut us?” my friend asks.
“I don’t know, say something to her.” Yeah, I was scared to say something! Judge me.
“Excuse me, we were on line too.”
This girl did not like that, but whatever. Back of the line street rat.
When we finally make it to the front, they tell us that they will text us when our table is ready, oh and that there is approximately a 2 ½ hour wait. GREAT.
“Excuse me, just out of curiosity, but how many people are in front of us?”
“In front of you? 30 different parties”
Shut the front door old man. Ok, are we still in? Yes. What do we do in the meantime? My stomach is already rumbling a little bit.
“Let’s walk around and find a place for drinks and some snacks before.”
Lets be real people, we weren’t NOT going to eat.
Luckily for us, Hudson Street is not short of trendy restaurants and bars. We end up stopping at a Caliu, a tapas bar two blocks down. We text our friend where we are, and she meets us there.
I would like to point out that my friend and I looked like street walkers strolling the boulevard in our heels, heavy make-up, and tight clothes at 7:45pm…the heels probably being the worst part because that means we would be in 4 inchers for at least another 5 hours. Uh oh.
“Where’s your bathroom?”
“Down those stairs.” Of course it is.
We get settled, and start perusing the drink and food menu.
“I want to get a margarita.”
“It’s not even 8 yet, maybe we should start off with sangria instead.”
“I think I want a margarita.” Lady can’t be swayed.
The waitress walks over. “Can I get your guys anything to drink, while you wait for your friend?”
“How is your mango margarita?”
“It’s basically pure tequila.”
“Ok, I’ll have that,” my friend says.
Shoot, I’m up, “yeah ok, one for me too.”
My friend looks at the wait staff all laughing and chatting and goes, “they look like they’re having so much fun.” (are they having more fun than us?)
Soon our other friend arrives, and the three of us are all slurping on our mango margaritas.
“So do you care if we still wait for Red Farm?”
“No, no it’s fine!” (oh, so you’re easy going)
“What should we get in the meanwhile?”
“Nibbles” I say. I pretty much said nibbles 30x throughout the night, and I am now truly weirded out by the word. I need to learn to be quiet sometimes.
What are nibbles may you ask? Just little bites to hold us over. Deciding was so easy. Boom. Boom. Boom.
“That was so easy, we should pat ourselves on the back for that.” Guess what? I actually did.
“We will have: the bacon wrapped dates, the meatballs, and the croquettes.”
“We are out of the croquettes.”
“We are??” Mango margarita has gone straight to my head, because now I think I work there.
Substitution time, butternut squash fritters are ordered in its place.
Verdict? Yum. The dishes came in sets of 3 or 4, which made it hard to overeat. We paced ourselves in the eating department, not so much in the drinking.
“I love the music here.”
“It’s Pandora,” says the waitress.
“Then how come we don’t hear any ads?” Are we testing her? We actually really liked her, and I think we thought we were already best friends, but we weren’t.
We left Caliu with 3 tapas in our stomachs as well as 2 mango margaritas. On to the next stop. 2 ½ hours is no joke.
No food this time, just drinks, off we go to Dublin bar for another round of margaritas. 2 guys I didn’t know came up to talk us (my friends knew them so whatever). All I know is that they invited themselves to Red Farm with us, and one had a digital watch on. No, no, no, no, no. Bye.
It’s a blur, but let me tell you, their bathroom was downstairs too. C’MON!
My friend called Red Farm and with the assurance that we would be seated in 20 minutes we high tailed it to the restaurant. I kid you not, I was fully inebriated by this point, so time ticked by slowly and quickly all at the same time. We asked the host what dishes he recommended, I mean hey, we were hovering over his host stand, might as well chat. By the time were seated, menus were completely unnecessary.
We decided to do small bites since it was technically our second dinner: soup dumplings, pacman dumpling (both were musts, since it’s all I read about in the reviews), BBQ’d porkbelly, and a Katz’s pastramic egg roll.
And lets not forget…another margarita! We all ordered the Le Club Hot (a spicy margarita).
“This is the best one by far!”
“Or are we just too drunk to notice at this point?”
Dumplings are served as we try to equally distribute.
“I can’t believe those guys asked if we were single, and then said good for you after I said yes.”
“He asked me if I was as an after thought.”
“He also made fun of where I live.”
“What do I write back to this text? I’m confused.”
“Just say you haven’t eaten dinner yet.”
Pork belly next, and last but not least is the egg roll.
“Are we going out after this?”
“Oh, no, did you bring an umbrella?”
So after all that? HOW WAS RED FARM????
The dumplings were forgettable. Yeah I said it, Red Farm! You’re just regular dumps. The pork belly, that’s code for spare ribs, not that I’m complaining, but they were boneless spare ribs. The most delicious part of the meal?? The egg roll. UNREAL.
“Would you go back here again?”
“I don’t think so. We did it.”
“I would go back here so I could try it sober.” (This was me. I’m pretty sure I was the drunkest out of all 3.)
and finally our meal at Red Farm!!
Red Farm (Le Club Hot)
A fancy pants margarita. It was delicious. If you like margaritas, go for it! Again, it was like my fifth of the night, so if I stear you wrong I apologize in advance.
Red Farm (pork and crab soup dumplings)
Sorry it’s blurry! I was drunk, and I think the steam sort of got in the way of a great picture. I will admitt I have NEVER had a soup dumpling before, so not too shabby to have my first one at Red Farm. They were good, but I have nothing to compare to.
Red Farm (‘Pac Man’ dumplings)
They’re so cute, but they are also SO overrated. They tasted like your standard set of dumplings. They just have smiley faces on them.
Red Farm (BBQ’d ‘Black Foot’ Berkshire Pork Belly)
AKA spare ribs. If you like spare ribs, then this is a done deal. They were juicy and sweet. If you’re not a big pork eater, obviously don’t get this.
Red Farm (Katz’s Pastrami egg roll)
Deep fried, fatty meat, with a dipping sauce. Why doesn’t anyone ever mention this in their reviews? A-mah-zing!