Eating good food makes me feel alive, and after eating at Red Medicine, I felt like jumping on the table, beating my fists on my chest like King Kong and screaming: “I. Love. Exquisite. Food!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I had mixed feelings about dining here after the Los Angeles Times scandal, but was mesmerized by all the food photos I’d seen, so was determined to go. Was I ever glad I did.
I'm not sure which has become more sophisticated... my palate or restaurant cuisine. Maybe both have. I wanted to admire each dish that came out instead of eat it. Is that wrong?!?! Each was so unique and looked like a work of art.
First to come out were the Brussels sprouts with caramelized shallots, fish sauce and vermouth. I have a love affair with Brussels sprouts. Maybe it’s because my Mom never forced me to eat them as a kid so I never grew a strong hatred towards them. I’ve eaten pounds of them and have even cooked them myself, but have never indulged in sprouts prepared like this.
My favorite dish from the “Hands” portion of the menu was the not-so-dumpy chicken dumplings with caramelized sugar, pork fat, lemongrass and confitures. I was expecting typical dumplings to come out, but these dumplings were anything but typical. The presentation was gorgeous and it was fun to build our own Vietnamese tacos. Each bite had such depth and was a combination of intricate, fresh, clean flavors. I could eat this every day.
The soft rice paper with rock shrimp, jackfruit, black garlic and bean sprouts looked so delicate and feminine with flowers peering through the rice paper.
Crispy spring rolls with Dungeness crab, Meyer lemon, pea pods, fines herbs and chili came plated like a masterpiece, but were forgettable.
The “banh mi” with foie gras and pate de campagne was a sophisticated take on the infamous Vietnamese dish but was a bit too rich for my taste, but for the record, I am not a huge foie gras fan, so that’s probably why.
Hello, heaven? I have arrived. When the lamb belly with hoisin, hibiscus-onion, sunflower seeds, salsify and lady apple arrived at our table, I was taken aback. It looked like a work of art. I’m not one of those eaters that compartmentalizes food on the plate and eats in quantrants. I like a little taste of everything all in one bite so I thoroughly enjoyed taking a bit of each flavor and making that perfect bite.
I wanted to bathe in the brown butter-soy milk that the Alaskan halibut was perched in. Complete with verbena, pomelo and lettuce stems, this hearty, thick piece of fish was delicate and delicious.
And now for the main event… the dessert, which makes sense as chef/partner Jordan Kahn has an intense background in pastry. I felt like a novice foodie when our desserts came out because they were deconstructed presentations of pure magic that I've seen in photos but have not had the pleasure of eating... until now.
The carmaelized profiteroles with cognac custard, mango, cola and black sesame were stunning.
My breathe was taken away by the bitter chocolate with kecap manis, oats, parsnip, brown butter and soy milk sorbet. Senational presentation. I encourage Red Medicine to remove the word “bitter” from this dish name as it was a deterrent at the beginning, as we don’t enjoy bitter chocolate, but was ever so enjoyed.
My least favorite part of the evening was not the food, but the poor waitress service, which was redeemed by the stimulating conversation with managing partner, Noah Ellis, on the way out. Always thrilling to talk to another foodie about your favorite bites!
Red Medicine. Los Angeles, California.