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A Taste of Red Medicine

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I’m not a restaurant critic, but I love going out to eat and I want honest recommendations. Consider this a conversation between friends. 

Even though my friend Nancy and I have been complaining about not being able to fit into any of our dresses, we’ve heard so much talk about Red Medicine, we wanted to see what the fuss was about.  The diet can wait another day.

This is the where a restaurant critic was photographed and ordered to leave.  Her photo was posted online so “restaurants can have a picture of her and make a decision as to whether or not they would like to serve her.” Those are the words of restaurant manager Noah Ellis.  I’m a reporter, and just like all other reporters, I’m inquisitive, particularly when there’s controversy.  My mouth was watering in every sense of the saying.

The name Red Medicine may seem a bit strange, but it was inspired undoubtedly by Fugazi’s punk album of the same name.  The restaurant had a warm and almost casual vibe when I walked through the door.  In fact, I felt more like I was in Silver Lake rather than Beverly Hills.It’s decked out with high ceilings, industrial decor, handsome young men wearing checkered shirts and a hostess walking around with a big friendly smile.  Good thing I was wearing jeans and a blazer.  The dress I had tried unsuccessfully to sausage myself into not only would’ve been uncomfortable, I would’ve felt a bit overdressed.

We were seated promptly (by Noah possibly?) and I considered ordering the #33 cocktail ($10).  I have a weakness for Tiki-inspired rum drinks and this was described as a Singapore Sling.  We asked the waiter for recommendations and went for two #18s, after he asked what I normally drink.

A few minutes later, we were sipping on two drinks that tasted deliciously yet suspiciously like rum punch. We were halfway through the cocktails (we were thirsty!) when our waiter arrived with two more drinks.  Uh oh.  Apparently we were drinking another table’s Singapore Slings.  He left us our #18s (kind of a twist on a lemon drop), but I’m all for happy accidents.  I ordered another #33 later!

For appetizers we ordered the crispy spring rolls ($16), brussels sprouts ($9), and chicken dumplings ($9).  The crispy spring roll ($16) may seem a bit pricey for what tasted like fancy egg rolls, but I loved it!  As for the brussels sprouts, flash frying them seems to be the thing these days.  I had some at Cleo the other night.  Try them if you’ve never had them before, but be warned they’re a little salty and oily and they’re supposed to be that way.

The chicken dumplings resembled meatballs and were fun to assemble into lettuce wraps, but I could’ve gone for less meat and more greens to better balance out the flavors.  If my husband was with me, he probably would’ve disagreed.  He loves big portions of meat.  On this note, I can’t help but share the first time I had chicken lettuce wraps.  It was at the French-Vietnamese restaurant Le Colonial.  It used to be on Robertson and may it rest in peace. I went there when I was in college and when they brought them to the table I was confused but pressed through, putting a little dollop of the tangy, peppery meat on my plate and then plucking a a leaf of lettuce when I was finished with my portion, thinking it was there to cleanse the palate.  The memory makes me laugh every time I order them.

For main courses we ordered the pintade fermier ($12), which was a delicious piece of chicken that arrived with white rice in separate pot.  The blue lantern bay scallops ($18) were perfect with a hint of lemon and butter, but the tiny new potatoes tasted strong, like lemon butterballs.  The two entrées did not fill us up (I’ll order more next time) so we were eager to order dessert. 

We ordered the lemongrass pots de creme ($9) because our server raved about it. It had a big dollop of blended sweet potato and a variety of other things on top, but the custard underneath is the prize.  The bitter chocolate ($9) involved fluffy chocolate kisses dancing across a pile of cookie crumbles.  The desserts were a bit fussy for my taste, but I have to mention here that Jordan Kahn was a pastry chef at Per Se in New York and did some incredible desserts at XIV before opening this restaurant.

With tip, we spent $100 per person for dinner and drinks.  (We were not charged for the accidental delivery.)  I am over the moon for their cocktails and it would be fun to return and sit in the bar, where I can eat more spring rolls and order off the lounge menu.  All of their bread comes from Bouchon, where dinner is always worth spending $100 a person.

Red Medicine
8400 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

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