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Red Medicine/Sotto?

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quandary. Taking a god friend fro SF to dinner. He is sophisticated but very relaxed and likes to party. Neither of us is into butter or cream dishes. So? I've been to Sotto a couple of times and really liked it. No doubt it would be a good choice. On the other hand have heard such positives about Red that it seems like it could be even better or a total miss if the menu is too difficult. What to do?

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  1. I've eaten at both recently and was blown away by Red Medicine, whereas Sotto left me thinking solid/good, but nothing special.

    1. Love Sotto. And their cocktail program is miles ahead of RM's.
      Red Medicine is... a bit more iffy? Totally interesting, beautiful plating, challenging in the best way. But not necessarily crave-able, if you get my drift.
      If you want an intellectually challenging/memorable meal, go Red Medicine. If you want great food and a great time, I say Sotto.
      Or, Split the difference. Dinner at Sotto, dessert at RM (Sotto's desserts are just okay, and dessert at RM is their strongest!).

      5 Replies
      1. re: CoffeeMonkee

        That is what I was thinking. Thanks.

        1. re: CoffeeMonkee

          Curious what you find challenging about Red Medicine?

          And I feel like I've really missed the Sotto experience ... from my one visit they didn't do a single thing that I couldn't find better elsewhere.

          1. re: a213b

            I am excited to try Red Medicine, but the menu is obviously creative and unusual. Sotto was great both times I was there. Great service, vibe and bar. The pizza was outstanding. The pork meatballs very good. Brick chicken very good. A very positive experience.

            1. re: a213b

              Oh - I wasn't clear enough - I meant challenging in the 'Modern Art' sense. Like 'why do those two things go together?' or 'that's a texture I'm not used to in food'. Closer in a lot of ways to the Alinea experience than anyplace else in LA I've tried. Very cool, very modernist, but as I said, for me at least not really crave-able.
              Whereas Sotto... I was a little underwhelmed the first time I was there (except for the bread with lardo), but a few days later I started thinking about the guanciale pizza. Soon after I was planning my next trip.
              I'm totally interested now to hear about all the places you think do it better!

              1. re: CoffeeMonkee

                Maybe I didn't order the right things. I'm trying to remember what we had off the top of my head ... let's see, I know we had the bread with lardo, which is very tasty. We had the peppers, which were good but those can be had many a place (including home). The meatballs were good, too.

                We also had the Casarecce, and to be honest I much prefer the pasta at Mozza, and even what I make at home. And lastly, the only pizza we tried was the Margherita, because it's my baseline for pizza (especially of the Napoletana style, though I realize strictly speaking Sottos is not). That I found to be absolutely mediocre -- too doughy (and I mean that literally), poor rationing of ingredients, and their sauce simply does not work for me.

                I will say cocktails are very, very good there ... I feel like I'd read complaints about their size before going, but all the ones we tried were served in standard coupes, so I'm not sure why the nattering.

                Anyway, it's not like I wouldn't return ... but as we do a fair amount of cooking at home, my nights dining out are prized, and I would much, much rather return to RM than Sotto. That being said, I'd have nary a complaint if friends wanted to go -- we'd happily join them and have a good meal.

          2. If your friend is from SF, you might want to take a look at the menus from Cotogna, Quince, La Ciccia, A16, Perbacco, Incanto, Pizzaiolo, Oliveto, etc before taking them to Sotto.

            As far as I know, SF has nothing like Red Medicine.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Porthos

              RED MEDICINE IT IS! Turned out to be easy as Sotto was closed. Happy to have tried. Food was excellent and creative. Not as formal as you might think from the board. Reminded me of Pica (obviously completely different food). Food was very good. Brussel sprouts, chicken dumplings, beef tartar and lamb all winners. Service was good but somewhat disengaged. For such a creative menu, I would have liked to have seen a bit more input from the server (although he certainly responded to our questions well). Pacing could have been better too. The dishes came too fast and overlapped. Drinks were small for the cost, but overall a true winner.

              1. re: BSW6490

                Great! Glad you enjoyed, and thanks for reporting back.

            2. sotto is the more accessible of the 2 choices.
              red medicine is one of my fav restaurants in the country and i have to agree with those who already stated, if you are not into the concept of modern dining, you will hate it.

              probly already went…but for those with future similar choices i just want to give my 2 cents.

              hope they had fun while in town.