Red Dog Saloon on Victoria street in Nottingham is another restaurant that has opened up in the city serving up American BBQ themed food and Burgers. I am not really sure that we need all of these places to be honest, but I thought I should try them out.
They say that they serve Kansas City BBQ which sounds great, the most famous element of Kansas City style BBQ is ‘burnt ends’ and I love ‘burnt ends’, Red Dog Saloon doesn’t serve ‘burnt ends’. I didn’t order the BBQ.
Call me crazy for coming here and ordering a Burger but then please take a moment to consider the method in my madness. I had read that there had been some criticscm in the press of their burgers implying that they were not cooked properly or rather to be more accurate there had been some appalling reporting that they served their burgers pink. For god sakes man they should be served medium (slightly pink) at worst, medium-rare (pink) at best, cooking them ‘well done’ will ruin them.
I really just felt that I needed to come in and see for myself. To add a little context I have been working back over in the States for the last 3 months, a place that knows how to cook a burger, knows how to take fresh meat, grind it to order, and serve it ‘pink’ to all comers, That is what is expected in the majority of places, and that is what is sadly lacking in most burger joints in our fair city. It all comes down to the quality and freshness of the meat and the skills of the chef and the open mind of the customer.
It was just lunchtime so we were thinking ‘just get a simple cheeseburger’, and that was probably a good idea as that was probably one of the most reasonably priced items on the menu at £7.95, of course you know I didn’t get that, but maybe I should have?
I nearly got the ‘Black & Blue’ as I like the style of ‘Blackened Cajun’ and blue cheese is a worthy partner on a burger such as this, but I was a little uncertain or maybe unconvinced as to whether they could pull that combo off, so I decided to stick with the tried and tested combination of cheese and bacon as my toppings
I really just wanted a bacon cheeseburger, but the option of having a little bit of belly pork on top as well was too much to resist, so I ordered the Bacon Deluxe Cheeseburger, I was upsold by £2!
Bacon Deluxe Cheeseburger
First thoughts was that it ‘Looks Good eh?’, I know that the truth lies in the bite and the taste, but it kind of helps that it at least looks nice to start with. The thick strips of belly pork were done quite well, they were just crispy enough to add nice texture and I liked the slightly smoky flavour. They were not as nice as the strips of belly pork we cook at home on top of the sunday roast chicken, but not bad.
The most interesting thing about the burgers here to me are that you get two thin 3 oz patties in the bun, which means that if you cook them too long you are going to be eating a dry chewy disc of meat. Happily even though these are not pink at all (anymore) these were cooked just about perfectly. I liked the meatiness of them and even though they seemed to have little fat in them, they were still a bit juicy. I have to say though that I like a thicker burger and I like ones where the juices flow out as I eat them.
There was not that much cheese on these to call them a ‘deluxe’ cheeseburger, it was a stretch to call them cheeseburgers to be honest 🙂 I think that is clear from the picture above.
The structural integrity of the burger could have been improved by layering the contents differently, too much juice seeps onto the bun so that after a few bites it falls apart in your hands.
Personally, I like to add a layer of lettuce leaf to the lower bun to hold all the juice in, shredded lettuce doesn’t work, the tomato needs to be above the burger as well as it just is too full of juice 🙂
OMG I am sure I never used to be so picky, but you did just charge me £10 just for a burger with no sides! It was ‘quite’ good, not good enough to be a regular burger on any burger munching circuit of mine, but better than a lot of other efforts masquerading as burgers in Nottingham at the moment.
Honestly I did like and enjoy this burger, I am not inviting it over for Christmas, but if I need to pretend to ‘like’ someone enough to get a lift to a New Years Party I might give it a call. No that would be unkind, I wouldn’t like to fuddle it with mixed metaphors 🙂
This looked the business when it arrived at the table, I was liking that it was topped with toasted bread crumbs as that is how I like to cook my own Mac ‘n’ Cheese, I also liked that I could see the sauce bubbling up from the pasta as that was making me believe that it had just been pulled out of the oven and brought swiftly to the table for our delectation.
Sadly that was all that I had to say in a positive note, it was to be really honest a sad insipid affair. It had no discernible taste of cheese and was basically just a bowl of elbow pasta in a yellow / white sauce. I could have been more accepting if it wasn’t for the fact that you have to pay for any sides that you have at Red Dog and we had already been served a bowl of basic fries that also missed the mark so badly. Hell man, I am not usually that critical but I really like Mac n Cheese and this effort just made me sad.
I have some great Mac n Cheese recipes, and if you, like me love this dish, then head over to Oscar and Rosie’s (best pizza place in the city) and try theirs!
I know that a BBQ restaurant should really be focussed on the meats, but having eaten at a lot of BBQ joints in the States, I know that they are also proud of their sides too. I kind of felt that the sides here at Red Dog are just a throwaway item, basically a chance to get some extra money onto the diners cheque, this seems to be a bit of a trend at the moment, and I don’t think that we as diners should take it. Just my thoughts, you may be happy with your lot and I might be an idiot, I just know what I like, this just made me a little bit grumpy 😦
So what about that BBQ?
I would like to try the BBQ but it seems quite expensive and I am not rich enough to waste money on a whim. I am lucky enough to be located in North Carolina at the moment where they have shacks with real pit BBQ and places smoking meats for generations. When I read that places have imported smokers, I often say that I could buy a piano, no I cannot play the piano.
It will be interesting to see how Red Dog Saloon fares in the city in competition with the other BBQ themed places, I don’t think that it has too much to worry about as most people will never have had the opportunity to eat really good authentic BBQ so they will probably lap it up, just like they are already.
I hope that they do ok as I want every business to thrive, but I think that they need to find a niche, and
They really need to get ‘Burnt Ends’ on the menu! 🙂
They need to be different.
Red Dog Saloon in Nottingham is Located at
20 – 22 Victoria Street
Nottingham NG1 2EX
0203 409 4803