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Mar 31, 2012 07:02 PM

What to get at Red Medicine

My wife and I have been away from LA most of the past year, so we are trying to catch up on all the great new/ish places here to eat.

We've been invited last minute to meet some friends at Red Medicine for dinner and drinks, and while I've been frantically searching CH for the "must gets", any help y'all can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Looks like the Brussels Sprouts, Rice Porridge with Uni, Foie, and Maitake dishes are pretty regularly recommended ... what else?

Given his pedigree, and my secret fantasy of striking it rich and becoming a pastry chef, what desserts are must haves? I see the Bavarois and the Plum are highly praised.

Thoughts? Help!

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  1. What you said plus the foie gras.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Porthos

      Lol, I had that in there too. Is the pork worth getting (the One under the "Hot" menu, not the Large Format one)? Something else?

      1. re: a213b

        Pork is good but that is plenty for 2, said the glutton.

    2. Quick report back.

      We had an absolutely outstanding meal at Red Medicine last night. Far better than our MB Post and Sotto experiences over the past week.

      We had the Chicken Dumplings, Brussels Sprouts, Maitake Mushrooms, Foie & Head Cheese, Caramelized Pork Shoulder, and the Rice Porridge with Uni. For dessert we had the Coconut Bavarois and the Gage Plum. We also had several cocktails.

      As I listed the dishes is the order in which we received them. Everything was, at the very least, REALLY good.

      That being said, the best dish for us both was the Maitakes ... and I'm not even a big mushroom guy! Simply superlative.

      The Brussels Sprouts were outstanding as well, and would probably have been my favorite preparation ever had I not had some absolutely transcendent ones earlier this year at Uchiko in Austin. Still, utterly drool worthy they were.

      The Dumplings were succulent and grubby-good, if you know what I mean.

      The Foie was very, very impressive ... and that's including the fact I wasn't really in a "Foie mood". My only complaint would be the toast that came with it was so crumbly, it shattered on any contact.

      The Pork was probably the least favorite, though as I said it was still good. I think it's one of those things that pales in comparison to the other dishes we'd been eating. Still, we snagged those leftovers, which I'm sure will go into making a tasty stir fry.

      And the last of the savory dishes, the porridge ... SO decadent, so buttery, so (I really hate using this word but it's so apropos) unctuous. While delectable, this didn't blow me away as it has others. Don't get me wrong, I scarfed down some more for breakfast (like eating cold risotto, Yum!), but it wasn't transcendent for me. But that being said, I'd still highly encourage one to order it.

      As for the desserts, let me just say that both were PHENOMENAL (cue the Jim Rome voice). I think I preferred the Bavarois last night, but I can see it changing on a nightly basis. That Plum dish is crazy good, fruity, floral, herbaceous. The perfect way to exit a rich meal.

      One last note, on service; Daniel, our server, was absolutely fantastic -- the perfect mix of charm, attentiveness, knowledge, enthusiasm, and knowing when to retreat. For the life of me I cannot imagine having anything other than a stellar experience when in his care.

      In short, if you haven't been, go. Now.

      5 Replies
      1. re: a213b

        Nice review! Yeah, so I'm too late for your request, but also too lazy to find the proper thread to respond to. And, sounds like we were in the same situation as you (been away, invited by friends). I really loved our dinner. Not everything was out of the park, but a truly creative yet accessible menu, good service, fun space. Looking at the menu to cheat, I remember spring peas, amberjack, rice porridge (w/o uni), the Wagyu beef brisket, chicken dumplings, spring rolls, and brussels sprouts, with two desserts, the pear thing and the bitter chocolate thing. We had some of the fancy cocktails too.

        Overall, everything was either very good or outstanding. The brussels were just about the best thing I've had in the past year, whatever the heck they're doing with them - sort of this smoky/candied effect. Not to be a drag, but the porridge was probably my least favorite, since in the end (for me) it was still cold rissoto with some varied bits thrown in. The brisket was just as it should be - pleasantly fatty but with enough meat, and so tender. I'm trying to remember if it was the dumplings you sort of do a lettuce-wrap with, but whatever that setup was, I really could have had a whole meal of that.

        The desserts really didn't blow me away - the combo of chocolate and sweet soy sauce was not one I need to try again (though I admittedly don't have an open mind about such things). The cocktails were up there with the best bars in town.

        And finally, though it isn't cheap, I've spent a lot more for a lot less. This place is a gem.

        1. re: cant talk...eating

          it was still cold rissoto with some varied bits thrown in.
          Porridge has been nice and hot on all 3 of my visits, perfectly so...just like Goldilocks' 3rd bowl.

          1. re: Porthos

            Yikes - my mistake! I read a213b's description and just wrote that. Right - piping hot. To clarify, it's a good dish, just not, I dunno, memorable?

            1. re: cant talk...eating

              I suspect the porridge is probably very different with the uni.

        2. i have had most dishes. here are the ones i currently love.

          and btw…share please

          cold plates:
          delta asparagas - beautiful, fun, fresh. takes place of salad course
          beef tartare - many textures. hands on course.

          small plates:
          dumplings - cute and simple. non threatening. haha.
          brussels sprouts - some of the best out there for their style of prep. dark. salty. amazing.

          hot plates:
          pork - melts in your mouth. (get with brussels to compliment them.)

          wagyu beef brisket - is unreal. lettuce wrap format


          coconut - unreal… take on thai iced coffee
          chocolate - little mountains of choc mousse with a butter noodle draped over it…CMON
          GREEN CAGE PLUM - so fun. so beautiful. next level. so delicious.

          best restaurant in la.

          1. Also LOVED almost everything that we had at Red Medicine with the standout being the Rice Porridge with Uni. But one word of warning for the chowhounders.

            You might want to check the ceramic jars that hold the unwrapped chopsticks and knives/forks on each table.

            I had some weird premonition and glanced inside the jar and it was green, dusty and filthy. Very off-putting.I'm guessing they were simply re-filled each night without the jars actually being cleaned. Anyway we brought it to the attention of the manager who apologized and returned with clean cutlery but it would be nice to hear that they have solved that little issue.

            1. Going again tonight, and it looks like the menus changed a little bit. Any thoughts on the new-er items, and what's not-to-be-missed?

              8 Replies
              1. re: a213b

                Had the current menu 2 weeks ago. Both asparagus dishes are excellent. The delta asparagus comes on smoked tofu. The tips are cooked and charred and the stems are thinly shaved and raw. A wonderful way to enjoy asparagus.

                The dutch white asparagus did not feel like overkill at all and was delicious in it's own way.

                Sweetbreads were good but I enjoyed the pork more.

                The green Gage plum has been replaced by green strawberry. Same dessert but with strawberries. Equally delicious. The new dessert, the redwood ice was interesting but I didn't particularly enjoy some of the elements in it. The redwood granite was delicious and cleansing, some of the other elements reminded me a bit too much of soap, especially with the foam.

                Enjoy and report back!

                1. re: Porthos

                  Thanks you two. It's a birthday dinner, so I'm sure we'll love it. I'll definitely report back.

                  1. re: Porthos

                    The current menu ( gives the description for the foie gras dish as:

                    FOIE GRAS / mousse, tete de cochon, beet, kohlrabi, chicory, croissant 21

                    This may be a dumb question, but does that mean it's a foie mousse, or it's foie pieces served with some kind of mousse? The other cold dishes on the menu all list an ingredient after the slash in the description, rather than a preparation method.

                    I'm asking because I'm going there in two weeks, and I'm trying to decide if I should add this dish to my visit (was planning on just having the uni congee, as part of my own little food tour:

                    (No mention of head cheese on the menu; was that what the foie was paired with from a previous menu?)

                    1. re: PeterCC

                      Definitely get the foie gras dish. Yes it is a mousse.

                      For your mini food tour:

                      Brussel sprouts with fish sauce
                      Foie gras
                      Uni with Congee. Don't mix. Eat component separately.
                      Coconut bavarois dessert
                      Green strawberry dessert

                      1. re: Porthos

                        Too many dishes! :-) Got three more places to go after RM, but I'll probably add the foie gras to this stop.

                        Actually, if I wanted to limit myself to one foie gras dish that evening, should I go with the dish here or one of the foie gras dishes at Animal?

                        1. re: PeterCC

                          Foie dish here is light and elegant. It's basically a salad. You won't get full at all from it. The uni porridge on the other hand, is pretty much going to fill you up.

                          Enjoy RM by itself and remove it from your food marathon. You won't regret it.

                    2. re: Porthos

                      I loved the ice. Such an unusual dessert

                    3. re: a213b

                      I don't think its new but I've never seen the Dungeness Crab recommended and we thought it was really great. Only thing we liked more was the rice porridge with uni and coconut bavarois.