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Red’s Chinese

Bywater & Downtown: 3048 St. Claude Ave. 504-304-6030. Map.

Near the train tracks separating the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods is a place I’ve recommended to friends for quite a while. Red’s is just what those of us who would love to see more adventuresome Chinese menus have been waiting for. It is not for people who eat the same dishes in the same two or three local Chinese restaurants. Forward-looking cookery pulls Chinese and local ingredients into create a bold contrast to the typical New Orleans Chinese food. And did I say it’s delicious?–Reviewed by Thomas Pearce.

Red’s shines when Chef begins his daily production of specials, in which the unique preparations appear. Among the ones our group liked was a short beef ribs special in a sweet and spicy rub and a light sauce). What were we to make of the Reuben fried rice? It’s basic fried rice with the ingredients of a Reuben sandwich: pastrami, sauerkraut, and a light Russian dressing). And then there was the night when we had the orgy of whole yellow snapper. steamed in the kitchen, then brought to the table with a lemongrass and soy infused broth. It sizzled and popped while curling the fish’s skin and seasoning the bed of greens underneath. General’s Chicken shows a typical Red’s departure: a complete deviation from General Tso’s recipe, with bourbon-infused soy sauce and smoked peanuts.

Red’s is inspired to a great degree by the New York and San Francisco restaurants Mission Chinese Food. Tobias Womack and Amy Mosberg met while cooking for that restaurant in New York. They converted an old convenience store into Red’s in 2013.

The space is cozy (some might call it tight). From the outside, it looks almost forbidding in its mimimalism. Take a deep breath and open the door. Unless you never travel downstream of Esplanade Avenue, you’re almost certain to encounter people you know. An altered shotgun layout zigs and zags through the dining room a very comfortable and tastefully lit dining area. The restaurant, like its neighborhood, conjures feelings of both new and old. It’s open late with a delivery option.


You don’t have multiple courses here by ordering small plates then large plates. They’re all large plates, best shared with two or more diners.)

Sliders (fried bologna, kimchi, pickle, kewpie)
Tiger salad (jicama, gogi berries,aloe vera, dragon fruit, herbs, nuoc cham)
Crawfish rangoons (cream cheese, horseradish, lemon, Creole mustard, honey)
Smashed cucumbers (tahini, garlic, sesame)
Deviled tea eggs (Chinese hot mustard, scallion oil, smoked clams)
Hot & sour soup (monkfish, yuba, day lillies, cloud ear, pea vinegar)
Ginger scallion noodles (soft cooked egg, cilantro, black vinegar)
Fresh rice noodles, Chisesi ham XO sauce, chili oil)
Moo shu pork (pork shoulder, napa cabbage, watercress, house pancakes, hoisin)
General’s chicken (fried half-chicken, bourbon soy, smoked peanuts, chili, cilantro)
Kung pao pastrami (mesquite pastrami, rice cake, holy trinity, szechuan pepper)
Royal ribs (beef short ribs, bunny loaf, wuxi bbq, crinkle pickle)
Beef & bok choy (braised brisket, garlic, smoked oyster sauce)
Hawaiian fried rice (fried chicken, pickled pineapple, egg, bacon, curry)
Buddha’s fried rice (garden vegetables, basil, fried garlic)
Bywater eggplant (mirliton, gochujang)
Delta broccoli (radishes, preserved lemon, fermented black beans, fried garlic)

Bring three friends, sit down for a cocktails (they are inspired) and peruse what the specials. Eat family style, because portions are fantastically large.

While most of the dishes feature intense flavors in tasteful preparations, some dishers have an overkill quality. When a steaming broth is so overly seasoned that it makes your face curl up, dial back. Tread lightly.

Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +1
  • Consistency +1
  • Service
  • Value +1
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness +3
  • Local Color +1



  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Easy, nearby parking


1 Readers Commented

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  1. Gisele aka LA2LAChef on November 5, 2015

    Sure hope the service has improved since Brett Anderson reviewed it. All I think of when I hear this restaurant’s name, is the server answering his cell phone right in the middle of taking an order.