With its sleek-chic interior and lighting as low as the menu options are vast, Red Seven has long been a cornerstone culinary option in downtown Lafayette. Admitting the inherent fault of memory, I don’t recall Red Seven’s menu changing as drastically — in visual presentation or dining choices — as it had upon our most recent visit.
There’s now a Banh Mi Burger, the Americana (combining parmesan schmear and white cheddar), a spicy Blazing burger, smaller-sized sliders, and the San Andreas, stacked with shrimp, bacon, pineapple, guacamole, provolone, sriracha mayo and, with what presumed room is left, a patty. This newly added bevy of gourmet burgers suggests the downtown-dining staple isn’t simply yielding that ground to its newest neighbor, Bru.
Other surprises have settled in next to staples on the food and drink side. Mixed with fresh berries and rosé vodka, the Strawberry Frosé is a refreshing, frozen delight that creatively capitalizes on the usual summer rosé resurgence. Red Seven has long had one of downtown’s nicest, largest patio spots, and the Frosé leads off a list of cocktails best enjoyed outside.
Then there are the delicious new Caramel Chicken Strips. Think chicken-and-waffle flavor without the waffle or elephant ears with a protein backbone — complemented by a pretzel crunch and the faintest dusting of powdered sugar. Has the Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp always been there? Maybe, but it’ll catch your attention now in a cleaner menu design and earn your affection with a hot Georgia mustard-ish sauce. (On some nights, Red Seven offers half-off appetizers from 4 to 6 p.m.)
Red Seven also puts intriguing spins on its more traditional fare. Although best on brisker days, the Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese is more than a dressed-up kid’s dish — hearty, hefty and decadent. The Almond & Parmesan Crusted Chicken is also strong, but it’s the citrus spinach and mashed potato sides I really love, a perfect tart and rich combination.
If you can’t decide, the Bruschetta Chicken Medallions represent a flavor-tour, grilled-chicken sampler. And there are also plenty of options for pasta, chops, seafood and steaks — including the Flank Steak (which boasts a spicy salsa verde kick) and the Boursin, a unique delight presented with a sauce sourced in soft, cream-textured boursin cheese.
It’s always exciting when new local restaurants hang their shingles. That’s what helps us all take chances to try something that might just become a new favorite. But it’s also reassuring when standbys don’t simply rest on their laurels. Indeed, Red Seven continues to find ways to strike a balance between the fresh and the familiar.
Rob Ford is Tipmont and Wintek's communication director, a role he's held since 2015.
Rob has a bachelor's and a master's in Communication from Purdue University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and three children and has a life-sized Yoda statue in his office. Away from the office, you’ll find Rob working on his golf swing, jump shot, or hope for a Purdue basketball national title – all futile endeavors.