Friday, 22 September 2006


*Please NOTE: as of 2010 the Red Charcoal is in the Deadpool - RIP*
In my little neck of the woods there are lots of little eateries that come and go. There were about 10 Chinese restaurants when I first moved in 3 years ago, now there are about 8. There was a tasty Italian place that despite a petition, closed. A kebab place went out of business. There was also a location where there was a pizza joint that went under, to be taken over by a Quiznos, which also eventually went out of business. Then, just before the summer, that location began to show signs of renovation. What would go in there now? Another pizza joint? A Tim Hortens? And then one night a sign appeared and the place would be known as:

The name seemed exciting. A BBQ place perhaps? While its not guaranteed, BBQ often means wings. A few months later I actually went there with Dude, but alas, no wings on the menu. I did have an excellent chicken Caesar salad.

Fast forward to tonight, and with another visit by Nee, we decided to get some pub grub. But local pubs weren't appealing to us. For some reason, Red Charcoal came to mind, and with a quick look at the menu at, we were off. Although the place was completely empty, the decor was nice and the service friendly. However, despite the websites indication and a sign in their window, there was no wings on the menu.

The menu is full of great Italian dishes, appetizers and a lot of burger options (see below) but no wings. Confused, I asked our waiter. Wings, apparently, are on the finger food menu (more of a take-out menu in my opinion). Success! We have wing lift off!


SIZE of WINGS: medium, but a healthy medium
HEAT: 5/10 (for the side hot sauce)
WET NAP FACTOR: 3/5 for the wet wings
PRICE: $7.99 for 12, $13.99 25, $19.99 for 40


SAUCE CHOICE: mild, medium, hot and honey garlic (I think)
SIDES: dipping sauce (ranch, sour cream, etc)
WETNAP: none
WING NIGHT: there is one, but its a random special, not a particular night
OTHER: free refills on Pepsi!

Because the wings aren't on the regular menu, the waiter had some interest in describing what they offer. There are 3 styles of wings: baked wings (no sauce), wings "like everyone else has" as the waiter described - basically deep fried with sauce, and the wings he seemed to be most proud of, their KFC wings, also without sauce.

So how were they? Surprisingly good. I wasn't expecting much. In fact, I was expecting tiny wings. As for the flavours . . .

these were the weakest of the pack. There was no real coating of flavour to speak of. I used the sour cream (ya, I wouldn't put the two together normally) to dip, then sour cream and extra hot sauce I requested later.

Tasty. They didn't have any real heat to speak of. Could have been a bit more crispy. The sauce had a hint of a sweet bbq to it.

Thats how they described them, and thats how they tasted. Ok they weren't exactly the same, these were quite mild in relation to spices, but the texture and the hint of 7 herbs and spices was there. The unexpected surprise of the night.

Nee was shocked by her super fries and chicken fingers as well. We compared them to the Wing House chicken fingers, which were terrible and simple frozen. Although we thought these might be frozen chicken fingers, they were definetly high-end ones if they were. As Nee put it, "now this is what chicken fingers is supposed to look like."

For the non-wing lover, the menu here has lots of options. Most interestingly, the burger selection has some great favourites, as well as some crazy designs - fajita burger? craft macaroni burger (their spelling not mine)? Nutella burger?

So our experience at Red Charcoal was very good overall. Our waiter gave us privacy, but was more than happy to help or meet a request. We were even offered fruit salad on the house! But alas, we were both stuffed. Do I recommend the wings? I do and I recommend trying all three styles. So the food was good, the service good, the mood was good - so whats the problem?

The place was empty and thats how I usually see it - I'm afraid this place is going to suffer the curse of the pizza joint and Quiznos before it. So please, show some support, try the wings, or the fingers and prevent another tragedy of a small friendly restaurant from possible closure.

3.5 out of 5 flappers overall

Red Charcoal
138 Dundas Street West


Anonymous said...

I lived in this area for two years and like you saw the demise of several good restaurants. But Red Charcoal is by far the best. I still order from them when ever i feel the need for awesomeness. Truly the greatest "staple" food place ever. Ever.

Lord of the Wing said...

Isn't it? I hate not living near anymore - I could always count on them for late night deep-fried goodness.