OC Review: Red Table, Huntington Harbor

Red Table in Huntington Harbor (Photos by Cindy Yamanaka, OC Register)

Here’s another french fry to add to the best-of-the-best list. The signature fries at Red Table are amazing. They are real, fresh-cut, honest-to-god, house-made, twice-fried potatoes, dressed perfectly with sea salt and cracked black pepper, served with ketchup. Perfection…

And just for kicks, there’s a “stooopid” version, which comes with a stern warning. Heed it.

I grab one of these like I would any normal fry. I bite it in half, and as I start to chew, I begin choking and gagging. I recover for a split second, only to start hiccuping and coughing. “Wow, holy cow … hiccup … what just … cough, cough, cough … happened? These … hiccup … are hot!”

They’re coated with a wicked habanero chili and ghost pepper dust and paired with a dipping sauce that could probably melt through plastic. Despite the fact that my vision is now blurred and ears are ringing, I find myself reaching for another. And another. Apparently, there’s a threshold of heat at which, when you cross over, something ethereal happens. It’s like getting high, and once you’re high, you want to maintain that buzz at any cost.

IMG_000312Red Table (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

But as with most good highs, there’s a downside. I’ve killed my wine. I was enjoying a beautiful pinot noir before I stooopidly stuck one of these fries in my mouth. Now the wine tastes flat and flabby with absolutely no structure. There’s nothing I can do to bring it back. My tongue is in revolt. My taste buds have shut down. “I’ll have a margarita, please.”…

It seems to me that the kitchen has more fun with the small plates than with the entrees, which don’t strive for the same level of creativity and presentation as the share plates. Skip the short ribs, which are just average. But if the chalkboard lists a lamb steak, get it. “It’s really big,” says our waitress. And she’s not kidding. It’s a hefty, round hunk of meat about the size of a tennis ball, cooked perfectly medium-rare and served with simple but very good mashed potatoes…

This is obviously merely a synopsis. Want more? You can read my full review and see the star rating along an extensive slide show by photographer Cindy Yamanaka in this week’s OC Register. Subscriptions are required. We don’t give away our work for free at the newsstand, nor do we don’t give it away for free online. Everyone gets one week of complimentary trial access, but after that you’ll need to become a subscriber. Or, if you don’t want to subscribe, you can simply buy a Day Pass — cheaper than a cup of coffee — for 24-hour access to the entire OC Register archive. 

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