Richmond >Red Pepper Restaurant
130 Railroad Ave, Richmond, CA | Directions 9480137.925582 -122.384605
The worst meal I've ever had in a developed country.
My friend and I arrived early in the afternoon and the place was deserted -- a fact which, in retrospect, gives me hope.
They started by bringing us a small "salad" that had some odd pickled vegetables in it, along with a little bit of canned corn. But not just odd vegetables. Horrible. I'm not scared of weird food, and have enjoyed pigeon, intestine, stomach, tongue, and all manners of fish, bird and plant. This was not "exotic". It was simply foul.
The "salad" was followed by "soup", which was in fact a tiny bit of warm water and soy sauce with a little chinese five spice thrown in.
The tea was also terrible. The water wasn't hot enough, and the tea itself tasted very old. (An interesting indication of the general age of the ingredients was the pepper shakers. They were full of the super white, super powdery pepper that is the unmistakable result of years of stagnation. We speculated that the pepper shakers were purchased in some eBay "going out of business" restaurant auction, and that the new owners, upon opening the box of supplies, said "Cool, the pepper shakers don't even need to be filled!" I digress.)
The entrees themselves were fully consistent with the rest of the experience. I had a chicken dish which was bland and in no way resembled any Chinese food I had ever eaten before. Or any other food, come to think of it. I managed two bites before giving up.
My friend's entree was, in the original sense of the word, remarkable. It was a "beef and onions rice plate." If you thought of it as beef, it was too soft, and a little old tasting. But if you thought of it as liver and onions, it was actually pretty good. I don't really know what to make of this, so I simply report it here without further comment.
In short, avoid this place as you would a open manhole over a Shanghai sewer. The only meal I've ever had that was worse was an arepa in rural Venezuela. (It was a huge round slice of rubbery, sour smelling white cheese atop a crude corn pancake. I drove it out of town and buried it in a hidden place so it wouldn't fall into the wrong hands. To this day even the most desperate vultures shun that blighted patch of earth.)
But back to the Red Pepper. In conclusion, if I could find the place in my brain where the memory of this meal is stored, I would be working a knitting needle up through my nostril right now, instead of writing this review.
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