TLO Restaurant Review: Red Dog Café

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When you’re 21, a debaucherous night with the fellas at a strip club is the ultimate party-time go-to, roughly the Axe body-spray equivalent of a trip to Enterprise Square but with far more well-timed speedballs and just enough pernicious attempts at mischief in a dank, dark corner to make the night truly memorable.

But when you’re disastrously pushing 40, however, reality hits you in the face and it can easily be the saddest experience of your life.

This past week I managed to get down to where even the horniest angels often fear to tread, the Red Dog Café at 6417 NW 10th St., in the heart of the Used Seadoo District, to sample their legendary cuisine.

Widely regarded as alternately the best (if you’re a sleazebag) or worst (if you’re trying to convince yourself you’re not a sleazebag) gentleman’s club in town, the Red Dog has been many a young man’s entrance into both manhood and HPV-awareness for well over 40 years—this visit was the first time I had been there in nearly 20 of them.

As a matter of fact, here’s an honest-to-God picture of the last time I went to the Red Dog, about 20 years ago. I’m not eager to relive those days. At all…

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(Editor’s Note: I cropped out the bottom of the photo. You’re welcome).

For this visit to the Red Dog, Patrick, his friend “Bob” and I visited the establishment early in the evening during the middle of the week. The parking lot was empty and the inside was even more so. With a structural appearance that gives off a redneck variation of the Titty Twister from From Dusk Till Dawn, the only vampires here were the bikini-clad ladies that immediately descended upon me with an empty pitcher, wanting tips for the D.J.

The darkness of the place was barely illuminated from the red glow of the overhead lights and dated neon signs, but even in little visibility, there were only about five or six people there, mostly young urban professionals with their Kohl’s suits, sitting silently as one girl danced sleepily on stage while the remaining gaggle talk about college (I’m guessing) or buying a new baby crib (I know). It was around 5 p.m., the unhappiest hour of all, apparently.

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As I settled into a small seat near the kitchen, I ordered a Diet Coke and took a few minutes to observe my surroundings because I was way-too-worried people would think it was weird if as soon as I walked in I immediately ordered food. That’s something that a cop would do, right?

Watching from my small table, I never noticed how awkward it is to get a stage dance. Walking over to the edge of the raised dance-floor, the dancer positioning herself in various ways that I’m sure will eventually result in a pulled, possibly prolapsed, hamstring, the desperate man standing there, painfully clothed as she gently bumps his groin with her Christie’s Toy Box-clad Patricia’s or Hustler Store bottom for a dollar.

All the while, other men are silently watching (Editor’s Note: Louis was watching?! I spent the entire trip trying to look away!) you commit this deeply effacing act of desperate contrition—it’s mildly homoerotic and the first time since entering that I could feel various rushings of blood course about my nethers, but that probably says a whole lot more about me and my own proclivities than I am willing to confess at this moment.

The Food

After an appropriate smattering of high-horsedness, the waitress brought me a menu. It was crumbled, wet, sticky and covered in stains, but, then again, so was I; who am I to cast stones? You then place your order at a kitchen counter in the back of the venue, because, let’s be honest, the last thing a Red Dog waitress needs to be bothered with is your food order.

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Handling the menu carefully, the first thing my eyes darted towards were the shrimp and fries combo ($6.00) because where’s a better place to get seafood on a weekday afternoon than at a strip-club in a land-locked state?

I knew that I was getting a burger—the whole impetus for this visit was because so many people have personally commented to me about their burgers as being “the best in town”—eventually settling on the Mexican Burger ($8.00) because viva la raza.

Wanting to sample at least one more item to have a fully-rounded idea of the Red Dog’s foodstuffs, the waitress highly recommended the beef tacos, of which I put in for two at $2.00 each. Sadly, I was informed that the kitchen was currently out of shrimp (“It’s a top-seller!”) and so I settled on fried okra ($4.50) instead. And what did you have for lunch?

As the DJ—definitely earning that dollar—finished up a seven-minute techno remix of Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind” to a bare stage and an even barer audience, my order was called on a kitchen sound system that is best described as what it must sound like when Galvatron has a rather painful forced prostate ejaculation, minus the romance.

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Starting off with the beef tacos, I was pleasantly surprised they weren’t those cheap crunchy Taco Mayo affairs—these were actual street tacos, with chunks of beef, onions and cilantro all served on a couple of warm corn tortillas. They could’ve came right out the back of a Southside taco truck for how fantastic they were, with so many authentically Mexican cantina flavors in there that I was expecting Satanico Pandemonium herself to ask for a bite.

(On a side note, it came with a small cup of warm sour cream that I politely moved over to the side. I refuse to touch strip-club sour-cream that I didn’t see and/or help make. Even I have some standards.)

The basket of fried okra was a plentiful cornucopia. It was crispy and crunchy and hit the spot; sure, it was of the frozen variety that you wouldn’t find out of place in a school cafeteria, but, still, it was pretty good for strip-club okra and you could probably do much worse, but really not too much better.

As I was eating said okra, my waitress asked me what it was and I told her, she didn’t believe me and started to help herself to some, but only after telling me that, if it wasn’t okra, she would “puke all over the table.” You don’t get service like that in the pinche Plaza District!

Finally, the very reason why I even stepped back to this den of groin-grabs and pelvic-poundings, the Mexican Burger. Loaded with a thick all-beef patty, a slice of ham, bacon, grilled onions, avocadoes, jalapenos and the regular supply of burger fixins, this hunk of meat was heavy and high, juice running down my hands and onto my breasts, a slight glistening momentarily blinding the strippers as the fatty streams were caught in the red lights up above.

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Hands down, this burger was absolutely fantastic and totally worth wading through a sea of small breasts and big psychoses to put it inside your mouth. Every bite confirmed the presence of a male g-spot as I was instantly pleasured to near-orgasmic delights that led to moans and wet-spots I’m sure confused and aroused those around me.

As I munched down on the burger, I tried to figure out why this totally blew my expectations when it hit me on my last bite: this is fresh beef. None of that frozen stuff. Just to confirm, I asked the Mexican kid working the grill and he said not only was it fresh, it was hand-pressed and made to order.

“Why do you want to know?” he asked, looking at me like he was preparing for a fight.

“Because this is one of the best burgers I’ve had in a long time!” I replied in all sincerity.

“Oh…thank you,” he said, eyes almost welling as if no one had ever taken the time to go directly to him and let him know what a masterchef he truly is, a Good Will Hunting-esque savant plugging away for nothing more than minimum wage and as many naked titties as he can eat.

So, while I still have enough of my sexual dignity left to avoid strip-clubs as a means of entertainment—I’ll stick with middle-age swingers clubs on Craigslist, thank you very much—I am fully pathetic enough to pay the $3.00 cover charge every so often to sample their wholly erotic take on the classic hamburger, all done with a Larry Flynt-like flair for the cockteasngly dramatic that you couldn’t even get at the hipsterest faux-dive this side of Classen on their most pseudo-burlesquey of hot summer evenings.

What will Louis Fowler put in his mouth next? Follow him on Twitter at @LouisFowler.