The Red Pepper Facts
3910 Maple Rd, Buffalo, NY 14226 / (716) 831-3878
Hours: Lunch and Dinner Tuesday – Sunday
Cuisine: Chinese, Vietnamese
Red Pepper is a Chinese and Vietnamese restaurant by the Boulevard Mall in Amherst. Previous to visiting for a sit down dinner, we’d heard good things and read mention of Red Pepper in the December edition of Buffalo Spree recommending their Vietnamese menu. They offer two full menus, one Chinese, one Vietnamese and serve many of the dishes, especially the Chinese food, family style. They’re open for lunch and dinner every day but Monday and take out is available.
If you’re interested in a satisfying meal with super quick service at a terrific price point, Red Pepper is where it’s at. By no means does the staff at Red Pepper rush you through a meal, but somehow we were in and out of there in under an hour. The portions are piled high, making it hard for two people to finish our order, which came to a grand total of $35. Trust me, that Chinese reheated like a charm. Price-wise, the food is an awesome bang for your buck. I’m no expert on authentic Chinese or Vietnamese, but if you’ve got a hankering for pho, this will do. I’ve been to some Chienese restaurants that aren’t worth stepping foot in and this is very far from that with good service and a clean space. You can expect a decent meal here, if not exactly 100% authentic. Knowing which Chinese restaurants are good versus the ones that make you sick is valuable information. Spread the word.
The menus (one for Chinese, one for Vietnamese) were clear and easy to understand with both English and the native languages represented. They also noted that spice levels can be adjusted for your taste. The Chinese offerings at Red Pepper consist of appetizers like Egg Rolls ($1.65) and Dumplings ($4.95), Soups of the Wonton and Vegetable Bean Curd variety ($1.75 – $6.95), something like 12 Poultry options, 6 pork dishes, 10 beef, even more seafood, and several steamed plates ($4.95 – $10.95). On top of that, there are a long list of House Specialties to choose from ranging in price from $10.95 to $20.95 for a Press Duck or a Happy Family, as well as the usual Chow Mein, Lo Mein and Fried Rice ($4.95-$6.95).
The Vietnamese menu offers a few spring roll appetizers ($2.95 – $3.95), 9 Pho options, Bun dishes, Stir Fried Noodles or Rice and Egg Noodle dishes ($6.95 – $8.95).
On a cold Wednesday night the restaurant was over half-full, bright, clean and decently decorated, similar to most sit-down Chinese restaurants I’ve been to. I was surprised to see so many people inside due to the dark, dingy view from outside in the parking lot. Upon entering we were greeted and seated immediately, served water and crispy wonton strips with spicy mustard and red sauce, and hot tea before we could fully comprehend what was going on. We took a few minutes to take off our coats, ruin our appetites with the buttery strips and look over the menus before a server came over to take our real order – even though I had already practically finished the bowl and should have stopped there. We ordered:
- Steamed Pork Dumplings (6), $4.95 (Chinese Menu)
Delicious, thin dough, dark, well seasoned pork inside, paired with a nice dumpling sauce. Wanted for nothing more but more. In my opinion, steamed is always better.
- Hunan Chicken, $9.50 (Chinese Menu)
This stir-fry dish with broccoli, mushrooms, mini corn, etc. came with moist pieces of boneless chicken breast. It was different from, and maybe not quite as good as, the “Hunan (Country Fried) Chicken” we know and love at Ginger and Garlic in Hamburg, but still tasty. Love the flavors, chicken was moist, sauce thick and flavorful.
- #7 House Special Beef Rice Noodle Soup with Rare beef, Tripe, Tendon, Beef Ball (Pho Dac Biet), (M) $7.95, (L) $8.95 (Vietnamese Menu)
I’m by no means a “pho aficionado”, but I can say I loved this bowl. (Okay the tripe tested my limits, but I’m all for living a little.) The broth, garnished with scallions, white onions and cilantro was delicious. The bowl was served with the traditional side of fresh bean sprouts and a wedge of lime. The rice noodles were good and the various meats tasty. Minus the tripe. It tastes like nothing. I did miss the Thai Basil and chiles I’ve become accustomed to at Pho Dollar. The medium bowl is huge. I can’t imagine ordering the large.
- #28 Stir Fried Roast Pork with Egg Noodle (Mi Xao Xa Xiu), $9.95 (Chinese Menu)
This endless plate of egg noodles and strips of flavorful roast pork was a pleasure. Served with onions, carrots, mushrooms, bean sprouts and scallions. The noodles were a mile long and lightly sauced. I’d order it again and again.
After dinner we were served a plate of orange wedges. They were delicious.
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