Having food delivered fills me with a mixture of dread and joy. On the plus side, I don’t have to go to the grocery store and I don’t have to cook. Heck, if I eat right out of the container there isn’t even washing up to be done. On my most severely motivation starved days, being presented with hot, freshly cooked food on my doorstep makes me unusually giddy.
On the flipside however, I’m a natural born worrier. Will the driver find my home quickly and will my food reach me timely and still hot. Will it be packaged appropriately, not leaking everywhere and will the order even be correct. When I find a restaurant that allays my delivery fears time and again, I usually stick with them loyally. And then I get stuck in a rut, often ordering from sub par places, simply because I know they deliver reliably. I know, I know!
Every so often I will try somewhere new, and when I decide to try a new restaurant’s delivery option, in this case Red Maple Chinese cuisine – I’m doubling down on my personal fears somewhat. At least with Red Maple, I knew in advance the food itself was well regarded. Indeed we even released a review of Red Maple dim sum back in 2010.
While many restaurants offer free delivery, Red Maple charges $2. That’s fine by me though, on the right days my laziness is immensely greater than a measly $2 fee, every time. The restaurant is open 7 days a week and even happily takes all major credit cards (for ordering and tipping your driver too), perfect for every contingency. Its Sunday night, you have no cash, no motivation, Red Maple to the rescue.
So far so good. What about the experience then? Well, excellent in a word. At prime ordering time on a Saturday evening, an order was delivered within 60 minutes as promised. Our delivery driver was friendly, everything was packed sturdily and appropriately. And most critically, the order was exactly as specified, every dish modification handled too. A week later I tried again, and received exactly the same slick delivery service – in fact even easier as the restaurant had already stored our details. From our phone number they already had our address and core details. Perfect.
The menu spans both Americanized Chinese and traditional Chinese, and in my house, we like a little of both. 10 puffy Cream Cheese Wontons ($5) were definitely the former, but a bargain at 50 cents a piece. A Dim Sum Appetizer ($7.95) might not sound the wisest item for delivery, but the stomach wants what it wants. In fairness the phone operator did warn that it would impact the delivery speed, needing 20 minutes steaming time. The dish came as 2 shrimp dumpling, 2 sui mai and 2 BBQ pork buns. While the sampler suffered slightly from not being gobble up straight from the steamer, every bite of the trio still hit the spot. Another appetizer, an order of Pot stickers ($7) was generous too; 6 ground pork wontons, a salty-gingery dipping sauce and a spicy chilli oil.
Singapore Noodles ($8.95) are a favorite in this house, so I was excited to see them on the Red Maple menu. Thin vermicelli noodles are stir fried with shrimp, BBQ pork, curry powder, onions and green pepper. Its a simple but addictive dish, one executed marvelously by Red Maple. It was also one of the dishes I asked to modify, and it arrived exactly to specification, with no fuss at all.
Pon Pon Chicken ($8.95) was merely adequate in comparison. The dish was advertised as a spicy sweet and sour sauce, but had nary a hint of bite to my tastes. A quick hit from the Sriracha bottle solves all such issues though. Still, the deep fried chicken bites ended up a bit mushy after their travels.
By far and away the best item I ordered was from the authentic section of the menu, the Chicken in Lemongrass Sauce ($9.95). This unassumingly named selection was a bounty of chicken breast pieces, jalapeno slices, scallions and a simply wonderfully aromatic and tasty lemongrass sauce. Salty, spicy and ‘lemongrassy’. Yep its a word, don’t look in you’re dictionary, just trust me.
Deep Fried Seafood in XO Sauce ($12.95) was much less successful and again was really my fault in ordering deep fried items to go. While certainly plentiful, the dish ended up being a greasy, limp pile of fried seafood.
Sadly, during the completion of this review, the Red Maple restaurant suffered a setback. On July 11th, the restaurant experienced a kitchen fire that has temporarily closed the restaurant.
Not to worry though, sources tell me the restaurant should be back online, potentially as early as August. Once these folks get back on their feet, you have no excuses not to support them. Get on down there or order up delivery – and sample that excellent lemongrass chicken. I for one will now be adding Red Maple to my list of delivery options.
3361 South Redwood Road Salt Lake City, UT 84119
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake. I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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