Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Red Medicine

Red Medicine is a Vietnamese fusion restaurant that recently opened a few months ago.  It's probably more known for the drama generated by some controversial actions by the management rather than its food unfortunately.  It's ratings on Yelp are pretty dismal, mostly because of the drama.  I'm usually not a fan of fusion food, but some of bloggers were writing good things along with their appetizing pictures.  So, the H.o.P. made a night of it.

I've had a fair amount of "fancy foods" in my life.  Red Medicine really takes all that to a new level.  They go beyond fancy and border on esoteric.  That being the case, the food is still accessible to the common man's taste buds.  The common man's stomach may not appreciate the smaller portion sizes, which combined with the lighter fare, can make for one hungry hungry hippo. 

**SLR-quality photos courtesy of Running Man**


Brussels Sprouts caramelized shallots, fish sauce, vermouth
Wow, who is now a fan of brussel sprouts?  You can't really see the sprouts in this picture, but its safe to say that the chef made good use of fish sauce for these vegetables.  Salty, sweet, caramelized, crispy.  Everyone loved these little veggies.  Triple T even made a similar version at home from the Momofuku cookbook. 
 

Banh Mi foie gras, pate de champagne 
These were an elevated version of the flavors found in the typical Vietnamese sandwich.  The pickled veggies, cucumbers, cilantro, and chili were a given.  The foie and pate were luscious and rich additions sandwiched between some light crispy crackers.  One was not enough, but sadly one was all I got to have.  

Blue Lantern Bay Scallops braised radishes, beurre blanc, fish sauce, lime skin, nasturtium 
Mental note, do not order bay scallops!  They're too small and highly unsatisfying than their big brother counterparts.  This dish had too many contrasting flavors anyways.  I was not a fan of beurre blanc.
Green Papaya pickled roots, crispy taro, tree nuts, nuoc cham
The salad was delicious.  Pretty standard in flavors and textures though.  Not too many fusion elements going on here aside from the different ingredients like tree nuts, but it was a success nonetheless.
Fluke cured with lime leaves, radishes, cured cucumber, pine needle
I did not like this dish too much.  Too many things going on that I did not understand.  What's a pine needle?  I didn't know you could eat pine needles.  All the radishes and cucumbers just didn't go well with whatever all that red juice or sauce was. 
 

Oyster Mushrooms oyster sauce, haricot vert, brioche, espelette
This was another successful vegetable side dish like the brussel sprouts.  It probably wasn't anything too special or fusion-y but everyone felt it was a solidly prepared and something we'd all like to have with a big bowl of rice!  Maybe it was a tad too salty, but I didn't mind.
Crispy Spring Roll dungeness crab, meyer lemon, pea pods, fines herbs, chili
They were crunchy crabby fried delights.  Despite the attempt to reinvent the eggroll, I wasn't too impressed.  They crab had a creaminess which was a bit strange
Beef Tartare water lettuce, water chestnut, spicy herbs, nuoc leo, chlorophyll
I can't remember much from this dish, but I think everyone liked it.  Did I taste the chlorophyll?  Uh, where was it??
 

Duck 5-spice, charred frisee, chicory, tamarind syrup, grains of paradise
The duck seemed a bit overdone and therefore a bit drier.  The flavor was nice, but nothing remarkable.  Grains of paradise??
Chinese Lion Pepper almond skins, honey, soy, violet basil, date

We did not order these and were given these by mistake.  They were not good at all.  Some weird peppers, covered in something strange and mealy, like cornmeal?
Chicken Dumplings caramelized sugar, pork fat, lemongrass, confitures
At this point we were all still hungry, so went for a 2nd round of ordering.  Had I know these little guys weren't actually dumplings, but rather meatballs than I totally would have ordered them the first time.  They were awesome.  Juicy tasty chicken meatballs that were served with lettuce cups and all the accoutrements to make some Vietnamese inspired lettuce wraps.  Thumbs up!
Pintade Fermier slow-cooked in caramel, cinnamon, dandelion, coriander, crispy onion roots
This was very similar to thit kho which is a Vietnamese style pork stew, but made with pintade fermier which I'm sure all of you know is a chicken, right?  Riiiiight.  The picture is not deceiving, the portion is pretty small, especially when you're splitting it with 6 people.
Calve's Tongue quince, daikon, young walnut, mustard seed
I was not a fan of this dish.  I usually like beef tongue, but the texture of this was too soft and mushy.  Also, I did not like the mixture of mustard and daikon.  Flavors were sorta off.

Pork Belly glazed with palm sugar & fish sauce
WOW WOW WOW.  This dish practically cancels out all the so so dishes of the night.  Originally meant to be a beef brisket, the waiter came to us saying the beef came out "darker" than how they would have liked, ie they burned it!  So they had to substitute with the pork belly.  Anyways, the meat was soo tender and the glaze was the perfect balance of salty and sweet.  It was served lettuce wrap style and made for one amazing dish.  Everyone was in love.
Lime Sabayon cucumber ice cream, cashew macaroons, white chocolate, jasmine
I can't remember the desserts all that well.  They were so exotic and unique.  Nothing was so straightforward as a cake or tart.  Everything was complicated in flavor and composition.  This dessert was just terrible though.  The macaroons were stale!
 Coconut Bavarois coffee, condensed milk, thai basil, peanut croquant, chicory
Everyone really loved this dessert.  Nobody could really figure out what they were exactly eating though.  There was something chocolately, something nutty, something cold, something creamy and rich.  It was very unique to say the least.
 
Black Currant-Lychee avocado, violets, creme de cassis, gentian, hyssop
Another so so dish.  I liked the flavors of the black currant and lychee but definitely did not like the powdery red stuff everywhere else.  Gentian?  Hyssop?






So after all was ordered and eaten, we were FINALLY full.   I was actually stuffed.  I really liked some dishes (brussel sprouts, banh mi, oyster mushrooms, chicken dumplings, pork belly), and I just did not get others (fluke, lime sabayon, calves tongue).  While I was not too bothered by the small portions, Pdho felt it was just torturous.  I think Quadruple T probably felt the same but he didn't say too much.  A place like Animal, with their incredibly rich heavy dishes, can get away small portions, a place like Red Medicine has such light food that you need more of it to feel satisfied.  I would recommend trying Red Medicine, but you may want to bring an encyclopedia to look up all the weird ingredients they use. 

Red Medicine
8400 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211



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3 comments:

Gastronomer at February 8, 2011 at 2:28 PM said...

Thanks for checking out and writing up Red Medicine. I'm still not convinced that I NEED to dine here. Still, it was a fun read. Thanks!

Darin at February 8, 2011 at 8:42 PM said...

Controversy aside, I need to give this place s shot. Looks like some pretty interesting/good dishes here...and maybe some not so hot. I hear good things about the banh mi at the bar.

JN at February 24, 2011 at 12:25 PM said...

That is what we call Triple T's brother, Quadruple T!!!

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