Reviews - Johnny Rockets (Hollywood and Highland), Red Medicine
Lunch @ Johnny Rockets
6801 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
Describing itself as an “All-American” hamburger joint, lunch at this chain was a quick fix after our flight from Sydney was delayed as we did not want to eat lunch any later and risk being too full for our dinner reservation.
The food was promptly served and generally passable even if forgettable. I would only recommend eating here if you were in Hollywood & Highland and did not want to go to the effort of travelling somewhere better for lunch.
Chili Cheese Fries
The #12 - Cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, white onion, pickles, mayonnaise & their supposed signature “red red sauce®”
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Dinner @ Red Medicine
8400 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Established by chef Jordan Kahn, a veteran of notable restaurants such as Alinea, Michael Mina and Per Se, Red Medicine seeks to provide a modern, western take on Vietnamese food.
This restaurant is infamous less so for its food but more for Chef Kahn’s decision to kick out and publicly out a LA Times critic who visited the restaurant in its early days. Neverthless, treated as a restaurant serving western food with Vietnamese flourishes, as opposed to a restaurant serving traditional Vietnamese cuisine, it certainly delivers an excellent meal. The food was mostly excellent with only two dishes falling into the “good” category. Services was professional and attentive if not overly friendly, although this could be due to the crowding of the restaurant when we visited.
The major drawback with the restaurant is the darkness of the dining room, most likely designed to create a hip environment, and the poor acoustics making it almost impossible to hold a conversation unless you wish to shout the entire time. Provided you do not need to talk at length with your dining companions, you should be fine.
#73 Novo Fogo Silver Cachata, Lime, Sugar (served in a Mason Jar) - The novelty of this cocktail, being served in a mason jar, was half of the attraction. The cocktail certainly contained ample alcohol for $10 but was too strong for my liking.
#70 Johnny Drum Bourbon, sapling maple liqueur, maraschino liqueur, shaken with an orange slice and served over crushed ice with seasonal berries and mint - Again a strongly alcoholic drink only slightly sweetened by the myriad of berries sitting on top of the ice. Again, a decent drop of alcohol for $10 but I personally prefer my spirits served neat or diluted by more refreshing flavours than this middling contrast.
Chinese Lion Peppers, almond skins, honey, soy, violet basil, dates - This course was our attempt to add some vegetables to a meat-centric meal and it was an excellent addition. The Chinese Lion Peppers contained excellent flavour and the breadcrumbs added a nice texture to the dish. Fantastic.
Crispy Spring Rolls, dungeness crab, lime, pea pods, fines herbs, chili - Unfortunately the photo for this dish does not do it justice. The spring rolls were perfectly cooked, with a crisp outer shell and decent amounts of crab on the inside. While there was no strong flavour aside from the crab meat, it still provided a tasty twist on the traditional spring roll.
Chicken Dumplings, caramelised sugar, pork fat, lemongrass, confitures - This dish provides a do-it-yourself takes on san choy bao. A dish containing nine compartments featured four crisp meatballs of chicken mince that could each be placed in provided lettuce cups and to which a range of accompaniments could be added, including pickles, scallions and various sauces. While not traditional dumplings as described in the menu, this dish provided quality ingredients that could be molded together to form quite the fun and tasty snack.
Pork Rillette, crispy chicken skin, lychee, clove, pistachio, spicy herbs - An extremely generous portion of rillette served in a cocotte covered by salad that had to be removed to reveal the feast that lay underneath. The rillette was warm and all of the ingredients worked well together even if by combining so many together there was no true standout flavour.
Pork, caramelised black vinegar, goji berry, spring onion, dried almond - Don’t let the picture fool you; this dish contained two very large pieces of caramelised pork shoulder that fell apart at the first touch of a fork and which melted in your mouth. Not dissimilar from Momofuku Seiobo’s caramelised pork shoulder, the version at Red Medicine acted as a true main course, as opposed to Seiobo’s play on petit fours, with stronger, heavier flavours. This dish was divine.
Heirloom Rice Porridge, Santa Barbara uni, egg yolk, hazelnuts, ginseng, echire butter -
Probably Red Medicine’s most famous dish, it appears at first instance to be your standard rice porridge eaten at dessert. However, the savoury nature of the dish quickly becomes apparent courtesy of what appears to be three sticks of butter mixed into the porridge. The savoury flavour is then further enhanced once the egg yolk and uni is mixed in to the porridge to transform an attractive dish into an unattractive but absolutely delicious bowel of glop. A truly memorable dish.
Birch Ice, almond praline, red current, orange blossom, jasmine - Initially mistaking this dish, ordered by the table next to us, for something else on the dessert menu, we accidentally ordered the right dish and I am glad we did. Served in a clear bowl so that you can see the bubbles forming underneath a crunchy crust, once the crust and contents underneath were mixed together every spoonful conveyed something cold and refreshing while extremely sweet to the point that I was worried my teeth would fall out. A visually stunning and delicious dessert.
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