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“The Redhead”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American East Village Moderate Great

I am a big fan of neighborhood restaurants. For me they are the backbone of the restaurant industry. Temples of haute cuisine may come and go but the neighborhood restaurant will live on long after they’ve turned their last white linen topped table. The neighborhood restaurant may be nothing all that fancy, but they’re sweet and charming in their own way. They offer crowd-pleasing, reasonably priced food so that you’re never dissuaded from popping in for a meal. They have a nice, friendly, warm staff, with waiters who’ll remember you like your butter with a little salt on the side, and bartenders who know that you like your margarita on the rocks, without salt.

They’re places you’ll stop in on your own for a beer and a bite and some easy conversation at the bar, places you can bring your parents, or stop in for a low key evening with friends. These are restaurants that come to mean something to you, that become an extension of your home. They’re restaurants that you miss when you move away. Well, for those of you lucky enough to live in the East Village, I have some good news. Allow me to introduce to you The Redhead, your new favorite neighborhood restaurant.

The Redhead may ring a bell. It used to be the bar called Detour until Rob Larcom, a longtime industry operations guy who opens restaurants for Drew Nieporent’s Myriad Restaurant Group, and partners Gregg Nelson (Devin Tavern) and chef Meg Grace (MOMA) snatched it up and began to transform it, replacing the ceiling, cleaning up the wrought iron façade, adding wooden flooring and installing crushed red velvet banquettes swapped from the old Montrachet. They molded the Redhead (named for The Red Head, an old East Village speakeasy that eventually became the 21 Club) with their hearts and hands into the sort of neighborhood restaurant they’d always envisioned—a warm friendly tavern with solid seasonal food, hand-crafted cocktails, and generous hospitality.

For nine months, they also worked on the menu, hosting $25 prix fixe family dinners every Thursday night to get feedback on the dishes and work out the kinks in the kitchen. During this gestation period, Pete Wells happened to come to dinner and wrote a glowing review in the NY Times $25 and Under column. I read his column and wondered about the place and ... [more, click below]

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