Upon entering new American style restaurant Red Dog Saloon in Nottingham, we were greeted with a smile and shown to our table.
What hit me immediately was the authentic feel the place has, and sitting in one of the best seats in the house (the far corner by the window) allowed us to observe our entire surroundings subtly and really take in the interesting interior and American memorabilia – we really did feel as though we were in a Texan haunt and what also contributed to this was the fact that the team at Red Dog encourage guests to take part in ‘Devastator Challenge’, a £27.75 meal which comprises of the largest stack of burgers you’ve ever seen dripping in cheese, relish and bacon, a large side order of fries and anything else the team decide to thrown in- not for the faint hearted- literally!
Our menus were handed to us and we were offered drinks by a welcoming waitress.
I was tempted by the root beer or soda , merely as by this point I really did feel American, but instead opted to go with a cocktail- without the alcohol- go me.
They were more than happy for me to choose anything from the cocktail menu and make it a mocktail version, so the Cherry Mash Sour it was and very nice it was too.
My dining partner went with a strawberry Margarita – as it came.
It was time to order and I must say the menu is pretty substantial and full of meat dishes. Being a vegetarian I was without choice on the starter side of things, so instead decided to be clever and opt for a side dish as a starter- the mac ‘n’ cheese (the American equivalent of Macaroni cheese) which was very nice and came in a small just the right sized dish.
My meat loving dining partner however had much more choice and went with the sticky and sweet Maple & Bacon wings served with blue cheese sauce and a piece of Southern fried chicken with Louisiana sauce (tomato , pepper and chilli), commenting that there was lots of meat on the bone. They were generous portion sizes and so next time would just choose one or the other, but both delicious all the same.
Whilst we waited for our main courses to arrive we realised we were in luck, the guy on the next table had taken up the Devastator Challenge and surrounded by his supportive family, bravely made his way through the gigantic burger and fries placed before him…
Our mains arrived, a huge goats cheese burger for me with a side order of well cooked sweet potato fries and my dining partner went with the beef brisket and pulled pork smoked combo straight from the BBQ pit. This was served on an attractive wooden board, was a good sized portion and full of flavour and went great with the house BBQ sauce.
Whilst we leisurely enjoyed our meal, over at the next table the Devastator guy was struggling and the meat sweats had started…the restaurant team began egging him on and clapping, so we of course joined in- great entertainment of a week night evening!
It was time to sample the desserts and our bubbly waitress Hannah encouraged us to try the Oreo cookie milkshake, but looking over the dessert menu, we also didn’t want to leave without trying at least one of them and so decided on one milkshake and the cheesecake between us… we lived to slightly regret this as what we didn’t realise was the milkshake and cheesecake were both gargantuan sizes and we embarrassingly had to leave quite a lot, even though they were both amazingly tasty and self indulgent- next time it would most certainly be one or the other in particular after two courses.
We felt almost guilty for feeling full, after looking over at the Devastator guy and watching the staff count down 10 , 9, 8…as he frantically tried to finish the last quarter of his burger.. but to no avail, sadly he failed his challenge and instead of winning his victory t-shirt, he ended up with just the bill to pay and several thousand calories heavier no doubt.
Red Dog Saloon is a great escape into authentic American style cuisine without being tacky, is great for meat lovers, not so much for veggies and the friendly staff make the experience what it was for us, not to mention if you’re lucky enough to witness the Devastator challenge!
Fiona Duncan, RSViP