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I really like Red Medicine and Salt's Cure

nlk Feb 14, 2013 02:05 PM

I’ve been to each a few times. Haven’t tried everything on the menu, but most of what I’ve tried has been awesome.

At Salt’s Cure, the pork chop is heavenly. Perfectly cooked, well spiced, sitting in its own juices. I find myself picking up the bone and gnawing on it.

Had a planked salmon there a few months back. I had never had such tasty salmon. Last night had the rye braised chili pork over onions and grits. Super tender. For dessert there was a grapefruit pie. It was like a cousin to a key lime pie in terms of consistency.

A different time I was there, the guy at the table next to me gave me half of his lamb chops. No shame in taking something that good from a stranger. They were so flavorful.

I might like breakfast at salt’s cure even more than dinner. The griddle cakes, 2 by 2 by 2 of house cured bacon and sausage with eggs is perfect. I can’t think of a better breakfast combo. The breakfast bun is as soft as can be.

I really wanna try that salt’s cure burger and anything else on the menu that folks recommend. Would love to hear about the burger from anyone who’s tried it.

Red Medicine is probably my favorite spot to hit when I splurge a bit. Let’s start with dessert, as is my inclination. That birch ice dish. Comes in a glass bowl that almost looks like a small fish tank. Inside are flavored bubbles, on top is some kind of white chocolate lid that gets crumbled into rest of the dish. Fruit and other stuff inside mixes incredibly with the bubbles and “lid”. I could eat it every day. the pear dessert and the chocolate/coffee/coconut thing is great too.

The chicken dumplings which really aren’t dumplings are one of my favorite dishes. Hot, almost like a meatball, but with a much more delicate texture (again, not really a dumpling) they provide spicy sauce, lime, some herbs and some crunchy onion type things. Perfect.

Brussel sprouts are sort of in nowadays. Seems like every restaurant serves them in some fancy way. Of course the places that serve them with pancetta or some kind of meat are great, but RM does it fully vegetarian, as long as you consider shrimp chips vegetarian. The brussel sprouts come with shrimp chips, whole basil leaves and a gentle sauce. The flavors, texture and crunch of it all is perfect—and its priced reasonably too.

I miss the rice porridge dish, but the toasted grains dish that they replaced it with is almost as good.

What blows me away every time is the uni dish. I’ll admit that I’ve never had uni before. So maybe all uni is this good. But the combination of the tender, smoked uni with Chinese sausage and a cauliflower custard and a bunch of herbs is out of this world. Is all uni this good? Someone enlighten me.

I’ve had many of the protein dishes, the crab, the pork, the beef. They are all great. They bring together great flavors, but I usually hover around the other dishes more. I’ve never had the large format dishes—would love to try them, especially the brisket. Has anyone tried it?

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  1. Servorg RE: nlk Feb 14, 2013 02:38 PM

    We really enjoyed the brisket (done with lettuce and dipping sauce and all the little thinly sliced carrots and daikon and cucumber - very Korean like presentation). Really great if you like big, bold tastes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg
      nlk RE: Servorg Feb 18, 2013 08:32 PM

      Thanks, servorg. I'll have to get some friends together and try it. sounds great.

    2. d
      Dirtywextraolives RE: nlk Feb 14, 2013 04:02 PM

      I liked the burger at Salt's Cure, but didn't love it. The meat itself was cooked perfectly to order, medium rare, and was juicy and relatively flavorful, but I felt may have needed a touch of salt. The bun was soft and sturdy enough for the patty. I could not detect the cheese at all. The bacon was not smoked, or had so little smoke, it was bland, I found that odd. And their homemade ketchup just does not have enough tomato or sweetness to do it for me. The plate of fries were addicting though, very good fries. Sounds like their other menu items are decent. How's the chicken salad sandwich? It had a bit too much red onion in it as I watched them prep it, but I would try it next time.

      1. c
        carter RE: nlk Feb 14, 2013 09:25 PM

        Sounds dreadful.
        Uni is one of the 5 worst tasting items on the planet - just another opinion, you understand.
        And as to any dish requiring either bacon or cheese to make it good is not a great place to start, per other previous comments.

        5 Replies
        1. re: carter
          Johnny L RE: carter Feb 15, 2013 01:44 AM

          That's too bad you can't enjoy uni. When it's good it's so damn amazing.

          1. re: Johnny L
            Thor123 RE: Johnny L Feb 15, 2013 12:02 PM

            plus one on uni being fantastic. wonder what the other 4 are????

            1. re: Thor123
              chrishei RE: Thor123 Feb 15, 2013 02:19 PM

              Judging by his comment: beef, pork, chicken, seafood

              1. re: chrishei
                foodiemahoodie RE: chrishei Feb 18, 2013 10:56 PM

                Uni is great. If I see it on a menu - it's almost a guarantee I will order it. Too bad you can enjoy it.

                But when it's bad. Pretty nasty stuff.

                But it's one of my favorite things.

                And bacon and cheese? My first thought is a pasta carbonara - which I find most chefs love. (simple, incredibly tasty). Hm. A poached egg, cheese and bacon. On a burger? Gonna have to try that.

          2. re: carter
            BSW6490 RE: carter Feb 20, 2013 01:53 PM

            You are missing out on uni! What are the other 4?

          3. n
            ns1 RE: nlk Feb 15, 2013 12:10 PM

            "Is all uni this good?

            uni: either fantastic or vile.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ns1
              linus RE: ns1 Feb 15, 2013 03:14 PM


            2. a
              andytseng RE: nlk Feb 15, 2013 12:15 PM

              I've never had the uni dish that you mentioned, but I think you'll just need to try some uni at a sushi restaurant to figure it out for yourself. My SO liked the uni in the porridge at RM, but she can't stand it as sushi.

              6 Replies
              1. re: andytseng
                Thor123 RE: andytseng Feb 15, 2013 01:18 PM

                Best with quail egg.

                1. re: Thor123
                  Porthos RE: Thor123 Feb 15, 2013 02:27 PM

                  Thor, get thee to Mori. They have Santa Barbara vs Hokkaido uni. Best by themselves so you can appreciate the full nuances of each. For me, Hokkaido uni usually wins except during a couple of months in the winter where Santa Barbara uni really shines. The quail egg is probably used to hide inferior uni.

                  NLK, I also love how the Brussel sprouts are quite possibly the best in town without having to resort to bacon, or pig ears, or lardo, or a combination of the three. Truly impressive. I too miss that porridge but unlike you, that toasted grain dish does nothing to scratch the itch. I suspect they were losing money on that dish. I wouldn't mind if they offered a smaller portion or put it back on the menu with a 50% markup.

                  1. re: Porthos
                    Gypsy Jan RE: Porthos Feb 15, 2013 02:40 PM

                    How I would love to do a uni comparison tasting.

                    When I was first served uni at a sushi bar in Gardena years ago, I hated the iodine flavor that overwhelmed my taste buds.

                    Then, farther down the road and years later, a sushi chef I trusted talked me into trying it again and I loved it.

                    1. re: Gypsy Jan
                      Porthos RE: Gypsy Jan Feb 15, 2013 02:46 PM

                      That iodine flavor is a mark of inferior uni. Just like fishy sushi is a sign of inferior fish.

                      The uni at Mori is always top notch with sweetness and even a hint of fruit. Not unlike a ripe yellow peach or nectarine at the height of ripeness in the summer. Spectacular stuff. Go on a Tuesday or Friday early in the evening and sit at the sushi bar for optimal results.

                      1. re: Porthos
                        nlk RE: Porthos Feb 18, 2013 08:37 PM

                        sounds like i have to try the uni more on its own at a fancy sushi restaurant to get a sense. Until i do so, I'll just keep fantasizing about that dish at RM.

                        1. re: nlk
                          foodiemahoodie RE: nlk Feb 18, 2013 10:59 PM

                          Sometimes I will treat a friend to Mori. And sometimes the sushi lover says they're not a fan of uni (I know, I know, how could you claim to be a sushi lover and not like uni...? Pretenders).

                          But I make a tiny effort to convince them it's great, prolly one of the best things ever, but "You don't have to if you don't want to. I will be happy to eat your portion." Which more often than not, they push it my way. Great for me!

              2. m
                maiweezy RE: nlk Feb 17, 2013 07:57 PM

                That new toasted grains dish @ Red Medicine has the same flavor profile as the Mama brand instant ramen, pork flavor. And I don't mean that to diss the dish, it's my favorite instant ramen. (http://www.orientalfoodshop.com/media...)

                1. m
                  mrhooks RE: nlk Mar 6, 2013 12:47 PM

                  Fish sauce counts as vegetarian?

                  I had a quick, late dinner at the bar last night - bánh mì and birch ice. While I enjoyed my meal very much, there were some minor quibbles. The pork belly in the banh mi was sort of masked by everything else going on - I had a piece on its own, and it was delicious. My own personal preference, I don't like the bread as much as a traditional baguette. The softness of the bread, combined with its width, also made it easy for the filling to fall out. And it was just slightly past my level of tolerance in terms of spiciness. Still, it was a great sandwich, and quite filling, although I can't say that it was much better than a good, cheap bánh mì (or 3, for roughly the same price) in Little Saigon. Of course, I was nowhere near Little Saigon, so I was okay with splurging on a haute $12 bánh mì.

                  As for the birch ice, you really gotta mix the stuff up and dig deep with the spoon. If you don't, all you get is an overpowering floral flavor, almost like the smell of laundry detergent, but in flavor form. I also would have preferred a little less red currant, and much more of whatever herb is in it (I should know what it is, but I can't think of it at the moment). The most enjoyable spoonful I had, I probably devoured all of that herb at once (maybe it was the sprig on top of the praline), along with a fair amount of the praline, as well as the ice, currant, and cream. I'm sure it was executed as intended, and I think it's a brilliant dessert. However, I personally would have preferred a different balance of the various flavors. But I'd definitely order it again.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: mrhooks
                    Dirtywextraolives RE: mrhooks Mar 6, 2013 02:27 PM

                    Which place are you referring to??

                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                      FranklinJefferson RE: Dirtywextraolives Mar 6, 2013 03:43 PM

                      Birch Ice and Banh Mi says Red Madicine...

                      1. re: FranklinJefferson
                        Dirtywextraolives RE: FranklinJefferson Mar 6, 2013 06:00 PM


                  2. CharlesKochel RE: nlk Mar 6, 2013 06:15 PM

                    Uni or Sea Urchin is a favorite of many top sushi chefs, My guess is because it is so unique. The creamy texture is in a class all to itself. I love the stuff, but have only had it sushi style. I look forward to trying both salt cure and Red Medicine.

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