Judging Restaurants – Red Toque

Back in April we briefly spoke about Red Toque when they got a new awning. I’ve since heard from folks that the food is awesome but they never seem to be very busy. And since we’ve been on a kabob roll I thought it was time for a proper judging of Red Toque. They are located at 6th and R St, NW and you can see their menu here. Is the food as good as I hear it is? Any must order items?

41 Comment

  • We really like it and get our Saturday afternoon meal from there every weekend. We get one of the kabob platters and a veggie platter to share, usually with a side of baba gannoush. Portions are good and the food has so much flavor. The bread is fantastic. I hope someday they can do something with that side area in the photograph. That area sits under a huge shade tree and would be a great place for a lingering outdoor meal.

  • That blue graphic of the neighborhood on the side is worth a visit.

  • I forget about this place and am glad to hear it’s good. I’ll need to give it a try.

  • BTW, I’ve never checked it out partly because it looks a little divey on the outside. I like the black windows and red door, but the awning looks “cheap takeout-ish” and the dirt field next door is off-putting. I would ditch the awning and get a more creative and hip sign. Also, a few nice palms in pots (total of $100 at Home Depot) on the front patio would send a positive signal.

  • Very cheap and good portions. Friendly waitstaff.

  • The food is great, but sits at a price point a bit above the decor in the restaurant. I think they can’t really decide whether they want to be a takeout place or a sit-down type of place. The owner is really nice though and I love to support them.

  • I’d like to see an Al-Abbas Chicken (as featured on Curb Your Enthusiasm) open here.

  • I don’t eat here as often as I could but I’ve always had a great experience. Super friendly. Great food. Fast. Particularly love the pomegranate seeds in the hummus.

  • The food is very good and reasonably priced for the portions, a grown man can easily make two meals from one of the mixed kabob platters. The owner is very nice.

    I am not sure he has a great vision as to what his place could be. I was hoping it would help to clean up that part of the hood and lead the way for others to do so but it seems to have falling in line with its neighbor. That place could be amazing with just a little cosmetic assistance and outdoor seating along the side. Just look at Beau Thai one block away that did just that and now has plenty of business.

    The food is still good and I will continue to get take out there, lets just hope he will catch on soon and get the inspiration to clean up / update the property so his business with thrive and become a gem on that corner for other businesses to aspire.

  • I live down the street and only do takeout. The food is great, and given the portion sizes I would say the price is definitely right. In this city, it seems like a lot of restaurants have figured out how to do decor but haven’t figured out how to make decent food. Red Toque has the opposite thing going on, which I imagine is way easier to improve.

  • I love the food! I usually get lamb or falafel sandwiches, but I’ve never had anything I didn’t like.

    However, I do have one complaint… I usually call first and pick it up, but they are not very good at estimating how long it will take to have the food out. If they say to be there in 20 minutes I make sure I’m there in 25 minutes knowing that I’ll probably have to wait there until 30 minutes after. It’s not that big a deal, and it’s not the 45 minutes that I waited for Thai Xing when I first moved here. The food more than makes up for it, but it’s something they could improve on.

    The staff is always very nice, the owner (I guess he’s the owner) is great.

    • Totally agree, we get takeout here semi-frequently and it is never ready when we get there. I think they have staffing issues. But yes, as many others have said the owner is very nice and obviously wants people who come there to enjoy themselves (despite decor/vision issues others have noted). The food is very good and I think the kabob sandwiches are fairly priced and you get a great amount of food.

    • Also totally agree. We do take out and figure an extra 10 minutes on the time they tell us to arrive. For that reason, we only do this on the weekend when time isn’t an issue. Still, the food is worth the wait — but it would be nice if they could address that.

  • Red Toque is fantastic. I would highly recommend their Paneer Spinach which is spicy in a very pleasant and unique way, but the real MUST NOT miss is(are) the Samosas, bursting with flavor and always cooked right. The naan bread is top notch as well.

    I agree that the decor could use some work, I generally order out, but my impression is that the owner is trying to get the business of the ground at this point.

  • great falafel. great tea. slow service.

    • I’ve heard it’s because good food takes time.

      • sure, people say that a lot. but traditionally falafel is fast food.

        it took the owner a half hour to make my falafel and tea. i was the only one in the place.
        i call that slow.
        i’ve had fast falafel that was just as good.

  • Love the food from here. One of my friends had them “cater” a family dinner–she dropped off her pots the day before and then picked them up the next day, full of hot, yummy Indian goodness. Yeah, service in the restaurant can be slow, but it’s worth the wait.

  • Great place to eat. I am glad it is close to home. One of the better kabobs I have had in the area. They delivery too. The cauliflower curry and the spinach dish is pretty awesome. Some times service is slow, but the food is really really good.

    I think the owner is operating on a shoestring budget, so the improvements are slow to come. As far as outdoor seating, I am sure there is a lot of red tape involved. In fact it might not even be part of the property. Regardless of weather it looks “cool” or not, the food is good, the owner is nice and it is a great place to eat.

  • I agree that the food – especially the bread – is delicious, but the wait is just too long for the type of restaurant it’s trying to be. We waited a solid 30 minutes for 2 sandwiches one evening with only 2 other customers there. It was annoying enough that I haven’t been back.

  • Has anyone ever given the owner a little feedback? I’ve done it before in other places, and they seem to appreciate it. If I were a regular customer (and I may be in the future), I’d buy the guy some plants for the front and the side. It’s totally worth it to support a good local business. It also makes me wonder if there is a Shaw Civic Association or Business Group that could help him out.

  • I love this place. The food is fantastic. I actually think the pricing is good. The lamb kabob sandwich is my go to order. It’s just delicious. The bread it comes in is also amazing. And the samosas are also something special.

  • Falafel sandwich is the best.

  • Great little gem for Bloomingdale. They deliver as well. A must have is the chicken kabob dish with the chick peas… extra yummy!

  • Mayo on a kebab?! Blah!

  • I agree with everyone that the food is great and reasonably priced. I don’t eat there as much as get takeout or delivery so I don’t have much of an opinion on the decor.

    Two things I’d like to point out: 1) the owner bends over backwards for people when he feels his service hasn’t lived up to expectations. 2) the owner delivers the food himself a LOT of the time so if you ever have a problem you really should just talk with him. He’s really nice and always receptive to comments. I’m sure he’d like to hear how he can keep your business rather than let you walk away angry.

  • We love the food at Red Toque and the owner is wonderful. Unfortunately sometimes he’s not there. While the chef is great, some of his staff have had trouble with the menu and understanding English. We really want to love this place but it’s been really offputting. We had a similar problem when he’s not been there with calling to order takeout…. it just takes too long to get understood and then when the order arrives it’s wrong. That said, the food is wonderful and well priced. Definitely recommend the samosas and, as a vegetarian I always get the vege biryani which is great.

  • Great food, I’ve enjoyed everything I have had there. The owner is super.

  • I love this place. Great breads and veggies in particular. I usually get either the falafel sandwich or one of the veggie curries – the palak paneer, chickpeas, and potatoes are my favorite.

    Oh yeah, and definitely get the samosas. Yum.

  • It has improved for most part but they could put a little more meat with the dinner and less rice.

  • Just went to this place last weekend. The lamb biryani and beef samosa were amazing. Can’t wait to try out there other items. Definitely going back!

  • Yup. Kabobs are solid, chick peas are also delicious. We do take-out about monthly and rarely eat in. Owner is great and I think trying his best to spruce the place up. Plan is to put a patio on the side, though don’t know when.

  • I was just there this evening, -great food and great service. I think they are heeding advice.. I didn’t have to wait too long. Hopefully they will have outside seating in the future.

  • The sweet potato cake with cream cheese icing is fantastic and the price is definitely right considering the proportions! Calling ahead for take out seems to work best and is typically ready in 15 minutes.

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