Review: Red Hot Kitchen


 

Photo by Bob Gathany/The Huntsville Times

Hypothetically, Huntsville “Red Hot Kitchen” restaurant could have been named one of any number of things.

No doubt, someone could have come up with some sort of clever name to reflect its unusual Mexican-Asian-fusion menu.

“Nacho Panda”? “”Taco Dragon”? “SinoSalsa”?

Hey, I didn’t say I could have. I said they could have.

But they didn’t.

Those chose, instead of picking a clever Mexicasian name, to call it “Red Hot Kitchen.”

This was a good decision.

Heather and I recently visited the restaurant on a diet-breaking date night. What better way to temporarily go off a low-carb diet than with a combination of rice-bean-and-tortilla-heavy Mexican food and rice-noodle-and-sugar heavy Asian food?

We intentionally picked dishes to take advantage of the fusion nature of the restaurant. (With that exploration made easier by the fact that two combo dinners and two extra sides were only $24.) Mexican fried rice — chicken fried rice with jalapeno-based seasoning — and the Asian steak quesadillas provided a taste of both Mexican-flavored Asian food and Asian-flavored Mexican food. The baja fries weren’t Asian fusion, but were more of a Mexican-American fusion taste — fries with a mildly Mexican seasoning and queso dip. The queso nachos included in the combo and the egg rolls weren’t fusion at all, per se.

Except …

In reality, everything at the restaurant became Asian-Mexican fusion by virtue of the sauces. As I recall, there were a total of at least seven different sauces on the table, to mix and match with the food. I’ve always thought it unfortunate that Asian foods are the one major food group in the world not to include cheeses (due to an ambient genetic predisposal to lactose intolerance, as I understand), so it was a pleasure to dip egg rolls in queso. I had baja fries with duck sauce. Tortilla chips with a variety of combinations.

And, yeah, getting back to the name of the restaurant, some of those were hot. Quite hot.

Of the foods, the Mexican fried rice was the only one that was inherently particularly spicy. But if you fully take advantage of the seasonings, everything becomes spicy at some point. I told Heather by the end of the dinner that I felt like Mexico and China were fighting a war in my stomach.

It was good. And worth the money.

But, yeah, “Red Hot Kitchen” was a good choice for a name.

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