Restaurant Review: RED at Philips Arena

By Caitlin O’Grady
SCAD INtown Takeover 2.0

The gorgeous water sculpture behind the bar, the trendy basketball themed cocktail menu and terraced seating makes RED’s open dining room feel like an upscale night club until you look out at a stunning view of Philips Arena. RED is the answer for the discerning basketball fan, as the only full service restaurant in the arena where you can sip a martini at a high top table while dining over filet mignon with a view of the game below.

Neatly tucked at the top of the arena’s second tier, the restaurant’s multilevel design was created by The Johnson Studio to maximize the view of the arena floor, RED is also filled with flat screen televisions to ensure you don’t miss any of the action. The restaurant’s centrally located bar and open kitchen are lively and provide other exciting entertainment for diners.

The menu is fitting for a sports venue: there are burgers and flatbreads and plenty of fried options, but there is lighter fare, such as salads and veggie plates as well as the option to order steak, chicken and lobster entrées.

At RED’s recent media preview dinner, the press was given the opportunity to sample several of the restaurant’s dishes. The shrimp and super lump crabcakes were well made (not too bready and generous portion size), but it was hard to overlook the fact they were served lukewarm. The crispy chicken cheese sliders were excellent and garnished with pickled, sweet zucchini which was a unique touch to the traditional sandwich.

Another successful dish was the mixed green salad, which was fresh and generously topped with blueberries and pickled red onions, a surprisingly lovely paring. The creamy mac-n-cheese bites (fried mac-n-cheese balls) were generic and poorly seasoned and the margherita pizza was greasy and bland. Most disappointing was the red pepper steak burger, which was well seasoned but served rare. It is understandable that there was some trouble with execution on the crowded media preview night but the inconsistency of the food was disappointing.

The CÎROC sponsored bar features several vodka based signature cocktails and all were well executed including Red Berry Red,  Most Valuable Peach, and most notably Coco Court, made with CÎROC Coconut Vodka and fresh lime juice. The bar also caters to beer lovers, there are 15 beers on draft and has a selection of eight wines that can be purchased by the glass. The hostess, servers and bartenders, though busily working throughout the evening, were happy and engaging.

Currently RED is accessible to all ticket holders before, during and after all Philips Arena events. Its capacity is 250 people and reservations are accepted and recommended. With its elegant design, excellent view and inviting menu RED is certain to fill up quickly. For more, visit www.philipsarena.com.

This article is part of Atlanta INtown’s partnership with the freelance writing class at SCAD-Atlanta. Students are contributing articles, video and photos for our website and social media portals.

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