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LA needed this dose of Red Medicine

October 13th, 2011 4 Comments

Finally thoughtful and inventive food housed  in a contemporary and casual bistro in Southern California.  (Took you long enough.) For the last decade, restaurateurs have been transplanting NYC favorites to the West Coast or building larger than life restaurants that seem more like clubs than a place to dine. In my opinion, both get my stamp of #epicfail.

Red Medicine in Hollywood is the first proven success story of modern fine dining since Hungry Cat, in my opinion.  (Mozza’s traditional food and decor take it out of the running.)  The contemporary and casual Hollywood eatery that’s been open for a year is a chic hot spot where the food is better than the clientele. It’s “not Vietnamase,” they say.  All I know is that it tastes Asian and looks like art to me. It all makes sense when you find out the Managing Partner grew up in NYC and chef Josh Kahn worked as the head pastry chef at Per Se.  Both worked with Michael Mina.

A year ago, when Red Medicine first opened, you might have heard it in the blogosphere. Ellis posted a pic of the famous food critic S. Irene Virbila (like the Frank Bruni of the West Coast) and asked her to leave.  He exposed her anonymity because he said he didn’t like her reviews.  You can read more about it here.  That’s how I found this place, and by the looks of the food, I wasn’t going to let a couple egos get in my way of going.

(They’re known for their cocktails.  I usually never order mixed drinks, but I’m glad I made the exception here.)

We had one other dish on the reccommendation from the waiter and were too stuffed to move on to entrees.   Our dessert was the first picture you saw. We were totally statisfied as our expectations for LA food were low and the quality of their bar food was close to perfection.

The whole Red Medicine experience reminded me of eating out at one of the many bistros in San Francisco – fresh food, modern decor, a cool crowd – you know the scene.  It makes sense when you know find out that the Managing Partner Noah Ellis grew up in NYC and chef Josh Kahn served as pastry chef at Per Se and worked for Michael Mina in San Fran.

I can only hope that more LA restauranteurs take this medicine and get better soon. On my next trip to LA you can bet I’ll be hitting up their dinner menu properly before venturing anywhere else though.

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  • Foodie, please come to Chicago soon!

  • Ishmael

    How exactly does something taste “Asian” seeing that Asia is comprised of many countries, cultures, and tastes?

  • Kim

    So our mutual friend Mike M suggested I check out your blog because he knows I’m working on getting my first one set up right now, and I have to say I think I’m getting addicted to yours! What really stuck out to me is that I was telling Mike he needed to try Red Med (how us barflies there fondly refer to it), and lo and behold you have a review of it! Next time you’re in LA I would love to come buy you a cocktail there and ask you for some tips on blogging. I can be there rather spur of the moment too, since I live down the street between the restaurant and La Cienega Park. :)

    • Hi Kim! So glad you like the blog!

      Mike is very social media savvy so you are in good hands. Would love to offer any advice I can simply because I’ll never pass up a cocktail ;) Kidding. Always a pleasure, feel free to email me any questions before Dec when I finally make my way back to LA!