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The Redhead

I am late to the Redhead party. There’s a discussion thread on mouthfuls that is now up to 48 pages—more than almost any other restaurant in the city. I remember thinking, “What could the fuss be about?” In mid-2008, it got the Dining Briefs treatment from Pete Wells of the Times, even though it was then serving dinner only one night a week.

The fuss is about good southern-fried comfort food priced so low that it’s one of the best deals in town. In late 2008, the Redhead opened for full-time dinner service. With most appetizers $12 or less and most entrées $20 or less, you can put together a respectable meal for well under $50 per head, including alcohol.

I started with the excellent Grilled Kreutzer Sausage ($8), which comes with a mid-sized warm pretzel that I found almost superfluous. The acclaimed Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($17) has a nice side salad decked with walnuts and the best cornbread I have ever tasted. Counting the pretzel, the cornbread, and a dinner roll, it was a carby meal indeed. A free chocolate oatmeal cookie came with the bill, but I set it aside after one bite.

The setting is a dimly-lit pub. I didn’t try any of the house cocktails, but a decent Côtes du Rhone was just $8 a glass. Service was much more attentive and friendly than you’d expect in such a place. I was seated immediately at 6:30 p.m. on a Friday evening. I wanted to linger, but by 7:20 p.m. the bar was packed. Though no one asked me to leave, it seemed unfair to monopolize a table when others were at the bar waiting. So I left.

This is one of many East Village places that I would gladly patronize all the time, if only it were on my commuting path home. Perhaps it’s time I rethought my travel pattern. After all, it isn’t that much of a detour to hop an L train to First Avenue, where the Redhead is only a block away.

The Redhead (349 E. 13th Street, west of First Avenue, East Village)

Food: *
Service: *
Ambiance: *
Overall: *

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