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Birthday Dinner Recs? Ink, Red Medicine others?

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I have a birthday dinner next week to plan for and looking for some suggestions. I've been out of the new restaurant scene for the past 12mths or so...

Places I am considering are Ink, Red Medicine for now. Any preferences for one or the other? Other suggestions? One of my dining companions is lactose intolerant, ideally a restaurant that has ample non-butter or creme items would be ideal.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. If you have 8 or more in your party, it's prix fixe only at RM - 8 savory and 2 desserts for $65pp (everything is family style, including desserts, so you don't actually get two entire desserts per person, but it's still a lot of food), menu planned ahead of time via email. I did that at the beginning of summer. Hits were the Brussels sprouts (of course), dungeness crab spring rolls, Imperial Wagyu, and chicken dumplings. Misses were the Indian eggplant and, to a lesser degree, the sweet potatoes. Of the desserts we received, I actually liked the green strawberry the best, although I may be in the minority there.

    I enjoyed the meal, and will definitely continue to dine there - it's one of my favorite restaurants. I don't really blame RM for the parts of the meal I did not enjoy. My party had several people with dietary restrictions, including a vegetarian and someone who can't have caffeine, which affected the way I ordered. If not for that, I never would have ordered the two bad dishes, although I would not have experienced the green strawberry dessert either, since the majority of my friends were not interested in it.

    Although, RM might want to rethink that Indian eggplant dish, because nobody liked it (I don't want to offend anybody with my description of that dish, it's kinda gross). And I still feel the ice dessert would be a much better dish if they would go easier on the currant and soapy-tasting stuff, and heavier on the herbs (take that sprig on top of the praline and put more of it into the ice).

    Service was excellent, and Cory, the guy I corresponded with about the menu, could not have been better.

    I don't know how you feel about Hatfield's, but that's always a good choice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mrhooks

      I was concerned that RM might be too gimmicky - pretty but lacking in taste dept... Seems like you enjoyed your meal.

      Not a big fan of Hatfield the couple times I've been there.

      1. re: Sgee

        RM is outstanding. It is not bland in concept, taste, or visual appeal.

        If you have an adventerous palate I highly recommend it.

    2. Based on the two places you mentioned, are you tied to the BH/WeHo area? What's your budget?

      If you're willing to come to WLA/SM, there's board favorites (and mine too) Shunji or Tar & Roses. I would gladly go to either place to celebrate a birthday!

      1 Reply
      1. re: PeterCC

        No location restrictions, somewhat lower budget than normal around $50/pp.

      2. You might be interested in Ciao Bob's recent review of Scratch Bar http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9129... in the same general area of the other places you are considering. I don't know about the lactose intolerant aspects of their menu.

        1. Red Medicine is good.

          I also like Hinoki & the Bird.

          1. Thanks all for your feedback, decided to go with Red Medicine.

            Will save Scratch Bar and Hinoki for another time.