Dec 2012

Red Medicine – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)

Red Medicine - Beverly Hills

It’s a crying shame that Red Medicine got off on such an awful foot during its early days. First there was the uproar over the communist propaganda-inspired logo emblazoned with Ho Chi Minh’s face, which was followed by the brouhaha for exposing and ejecting the Los Angeles Times restaurant critic.

These events kept me and my curiosity at bay for quite some time, but I’m glad that I finally pulled up a seat at this “Vietnamese punk” establishment, because Chef Jordan Kahn‘s cooking is some of the most modern, forward, and interesting fare that I’ve ever experienced in Los Angeles.

Red Medicine - Beverly Hills

As its manifesto declares, “This is not a traditional Vietnamese restaurant.” Instead, Chef Kahn, the former pastry chef at the French Laundry, Per Se, and Alinea, picks and chooses flavors and ingredients from the cuisine that inspire him to create dishes that are as pleasing to the palate as they are to the eye.

Red Medicine - Beverly Hills

My friend Diep and I grabbed two seats at the bar and proceeded to order cocktails, a duo of dishes, and dessert. We had just come from a taco binge on the corner of Venice and La Brea, so this was the perfect way to get our feet wet without committing to an entire dinner.

Red Medicine - Beverly Hills

I had heard that some of the chef’s best work was centered on vegetables, so we ordered the “Corn” to start. Summer’s sweetest ears were presented in a terrarium prettied with herbs, custard, and frozen sea urchin powder. After mixing it all together like our waitress instructed, we were treated to a cold, smooth, unexpected, and undoubtedly delicious take on corn.

Red Medicine - Beverly Hills

Next up was the “Heirloom Rice Porridge” adorned with a single egg yolk, hazelnuts, broccoli, and sea urchin. It was easily the priciest bowl of chao in town, but with richness and depth reminiscent of an Italian risotto, it was worth it. This was pure comfort in a bowl.

Red Medicine - Beverly Hills

Desserts are the chef’s forte, and the “Coconut Bavarois,” a creamy, well-balanced mouthful with hints of coffee, condensed milk, and Thai basil, didn’t disappoint. While Diep was enamored with the peanut croquant shards, I couldn’t keep my spoon away from the creamy and crumbly bits. With presentation this pretty and abstract, it can be hard to identify many of the ingredients, but I am certain that it was all very tasty.

Just three dishes into the menu and I’m pretty darn smitten with Red Medicine. A proper dinner here is an absolute must in 2013.

Red Medicine
8400 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Phone: 323-651-5500

One year ago: Chung King Restaurant – San Gabriel
Two years ago: Lotus of Siam – Las Vegas
Three years ago: Canelé – Los Angeles (Atwater Village)
Four years ago: KyoChon – Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Five years ago: Vegetation Profile: Khoai Mỡ
Six years ago: White Dog Cafe – Philadelphia

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7 thoughts on “Red Medicine – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)

  1. I used to work across the street from there. I kind of avoided it because of the LA times nonsense, but I do hear great things. Would be worth a visit some day.

  2. They took the porridge off the menu, which I loved. The brisket and pork belly are great. but it’s pricey and since there isn’t porridge, I think I’m done with this place.

  3. Across the country here in Boston, I hadn’t heard about any of the drama during Red Medicine’s early days. But if this “Vietnamese punk” food is as good as your photos make it look, I’m inclined to overlook the drama and add Red Medicine to my “must try” list for when I eventually visit LA!

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