Red Medicine the Relapse

Restaurant: Red Medicine [1, 2]

Location: 8400 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, Ca. 90211. 323-651-6500.

Date: February 19, 2011

Cuisine: Modernized Vietnamese

Summary: Really interesting food full of very bold flavors, and at very reasonable prices.


For my brother’s birthday we decided to head back to Red Medicine (first review HERE), the casual modernized Vietnamese place in mid-town. Tasty again! Even on a very rainy night it was hopping and we had to get a drink at the crowded bar to wait for our table.

The drink menu features a number of very interesting and extremely well executed specialty cocktails. Plus, these are very reasonably priced at $10. The PDF version is HERE.

“#18 Krome Vodka, Chili-Anise Shrub, Lime, Grapefruit, Peychaud’s Bitters, Basil(s),  Ginger Beer.   Shaken and rolled into a tall glass.   Inspired by Scott Beattie’s ‘Irian Jaya’.” This was one yummy drink. The ingredients were all clearly very fresh, and you could taste each and every element. The sour of the grapefruit in the front, the basil in the middle, the bitters and ginger on the finish. I sucked it down in like 2 minutes.

The main menu. Slightly changed up from when we were here in December. The PDF version HERE. Everything is family style with approximately 3 savory dishes needed per adult.

And the wine-list, PDF HERE. They have a rather odd corkage policy. During the week it’s $25, but they will waive one corkage for each bottle you buy, which is very reasonable. Friday and Saturday, no corkage! I don’t like no corkage, but the list is very reasonable, with many fine sweetish whites (which I like and go with the food) in the $55 category.

Like this favorite of mine, Parker gives it 91. “Extremely bright in aroma as well as palate impression, the Prums’ 2008 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett is dominated by lemon and grapefruit, with village typical cherry and cassis manifesting themselves as an invigorating chew of fruit skin that is delightfully complimented by estate-typical impingement of CO2. Lush yet light, this finishes with not only blazing brightness but a cress-like pungency and strikingly intense salinity and suggestions of wet stone, making your palate stand to attention, wide awake! Plan on following it for a couple of decades, although, unlike many Joh. Jos. Prum wines, I find it (and many of the estate’s 2008s) downright irresistible already.”

“hokkaido scallop cured with lime sugar,  green strawberries, coriander, wood sorrel.” This replaces the excellent “Fluke cured with lime” dish from last time. It wasn’t quite as good, but was still wonderful. The scallop was subtle and soft, the white radish crunchy and bitter, and my favorite part the “lime sugar” floating on the vinegar sauce.

SOFT RICE PAPER / rock shrimp, jackfruit,  black garlic, bean sprouts.” A varient on the typical soft spring roll. Nice textures, and the shrimp were good, but could have used a bit more flavor, or just some sweet and sour sauce.

“DUCK / 5-spice, charred frisee, chicory, tamarind syrup,  grains of paradise.” A repeat, but worth it. This duck has a wonderful charred and sweet BBQ flavor, and it just falls apart. Really succulent.

“BANH MI / foie gras, pate de campagne.” Another irresistible repeat. The rich foie, the crunch of the pickles and crust, and the considerable heat of the seranno peppers all blend to perfection. Similar yet different from the other Banh Mi I had recently at Saam (REVIEW HERE).

“LAMB BELLY / hoisin, hibiscus-onion, sunflower seeds,  salsify, lady apple.” A brand new dish, and a stunner. The dark stuff is the lamb, and the sunflower crusted stuff the salsify. There is a unique blend of flavors and textures here, but the lamb was the stand out. Crispy fried in hoisin it most closely resembled an awesome interpretation of crispy Schezuan beef.

“BEEF TARTARE / water lettuce, water chestnut, spicy herbs, nuoc leo, chlorophyll.” Another goodie. The meat and greens are placed on a shrimp chip. Fabulous interplay of texture and flavor.

“PORK / caramelized black vinegar and honey, prunes, sorrel, dried almond.” Again one of my favorites. This pork is like the perfect sweet BBQ. It just falls apart.

The dessert menu, PDF HERE. We ordered the two we didn’t have last time.

“RHUBARB / mahlab cremeux, hibiscus, gentian,  aromatic willow.” This, I guess, is supposed to be a reinterpretation of a strawberry shortcake. The net effect to me was perhaps a bit more like cheesecake. It was very creamy and pleasant, with the rhubarb itself understated and adding only a subtle sourness to the dish. It certainly looks pretty too!

“LIME SABAYON / cucumber ice cream, cashew macaroons, white chocolate, jasmine.” This dish had strong taste resemblances to Key Lime Pie. Particularly if you got all the elements except for the cucumber ice-cream. This last was good, but through off the key lime thing. The butter colored disk below is the lime I think, and the macaroons had an awesome perfect chewy texture. Overall a really good dish.


Overall Red Medicine continued to impress. It offers really interesting and cutting edge food with bold and unique flavors at a very reasonable price point. I love the small dish only format. I’ve become so spoiled by that or long prix fixe meals that I can hardly eat at normal appetizer/entree restaurants anymore 🙂 If you haven’t been here, go!

To the Chefs and Owners, I thank you, and just hope that you keep mixing up the menu so it continues to offer variety and new flavors!

Red Medicine is the Cure

Restaurant: Red Medicine [1, 2]

Location: 8400 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, Ca. 90211. 323-651-6500.

Date: Dec 22, 2010

Cuisine: Modernized Vietnamese

Rating: Pretty awesome!


I’m a loyal reader of Kevin Eats and two weeks ago when he posted an opening night review of a new Vietnamese inspired restaurant named Red Medicine I instantly knew I had to go. Boy am I glad I did. I love good traditional Vietnamese for its intricate flavor palette (see my review here). This new place takes it to a new level, updating and modernizing. This is highly innovative stuff — at least when you consider the sea of Japanese and Italian clones that overwhelm our fair city.

Vietnamese is tough stuff to pair with red wine, but a Grand Cru Burgundy is soft and fruity enough to manage. Parker gives this one 93 points and says, “I loved the sweet cassis aromas of the 2002 Echezeaux as well as its powerful, intense, syrupy personality. Medium to full-bodied and gorgeously ripe, it bastes the palate with thick black fruit flavors. In addition, this wine reveals great depth and a lengthy, fruit-packed finish. Projected maturity: 2007-2017.”

The menu. This is all small dishes (the way I like it).  We ordered 12 savories and 3 deserts for 4 people and that was about perfect.

“KELLEY’S MOM’S FARM EGG / brassicas, pickled rose hips,  chili, fried garlic, boiled peanuts, lovage.” This dish typifies what the chef’s are doing here. It mixes all sorts of flavors, and a lot of fresh herbs, vegetables, and pickled vegetables. The peanuts were those large soft Asian ones and this egg was so soft it ended up in the dish like egg noodles. The overall flavor was salty and herby — and delicious. Plus HOT. Those red peppers were a bit of surprise, but a pleasant burn.

“fluke cured with lime leaf, radishes,  charred cucumber, pine needle.” This was another very interesting flavor combo. Hot again (there are serrano peppers in there) and strong notes of basil and pickle. Delicious!

“BEEF / fermented soy bean, bacon XO, chinese eggplant,  purple cabbage, celery stem, nuoc cham.” The beef and eggplant had an intense charred flavor, like filet minion BBQ or something. The purple cabbage paired with it like a kind of Asian variant on the cole slaw one might have with Southern BBQ.  Wow.

“CHICKEN DUMPLINGS / caramelized sugar, pork fat, lemongrass, confitures.” The elements (chicken, mint, pickles, scallions, sauce) are combined on a lettuce leaf as shown below. I nabbed a healthy blast of the red stuff. Hot again!

Other than the heat, this wasn’t as strongly flavored as the other dishes (and I like strong). It was good, but not as good.

“kabocha, burnt onion, chinese sausage, chrysanthemum,  creme fraiche.” This was basically BBQ squash with yoghurt and sweet BBQ sauce. It was really good.

“kohlrabi, tofu cream, grapefruit,  fish sauce, lettuces, sunchokes.” This was my least favorite dish of the night. Again, not bad, not just not as exciting. It was cool and refreshing.

“BEEF TARTARE / mustard leaf, water chestnut, spicy herbs, nuoc leo, chlorophyll.” Under the green is the beef tartare. You shovel it on the garlic rice crackers. It was incredible. Not intense, but a lovely flavor.

My brother enjoys some of the squash.

“WILD STRIPED BASS / brown butter-soy milk, verbena,  pomelo, raw chestnut, lettuce stems.” This very nicely cooked fish was bathing in this garlicky butter sauce. Nice too, but pretty rich.

“CRISPY SPRING ROLL / dungeness crab, calamansi, pea pods, fines herbs, chili.” Excellent varient on the crispy spring roll tradition. I liked the creamy bits of sauce.

Red Medicine has a very nice list of sweet whites, including many from Zind Humbrecht. They have a $25 corkage (normal enough), but if you buy a bottle they waive it totally. So I bought this nice riesling for $55 and essentially it cost me $5 (I saved 2 corkages). This is probably a 92-93 point Spatlese. Its apricot and pear sweetness did pair perfectly with the food.

“‘BANH MI’ / foie gras, pate de campagne.” Wow these were good. The fois meshed nicely with the bit of serrano, the pickles etc.

“PORK / caramelized black vinegar and honey, prunes, sorrel, dried almond.” This was a tremendous BBQ pork. The fluffy stuff is almond poppy seed puff rice. It mostly added texture and a vague nuttiness. The pork however was incredibly soft, the sauce almost mole like. The net affect was a pit like South Carolina pulled pork without the vinegar.

“DUCK / 5-spice, charred frisee, chicory, tamarind syrup,  grains of paradise.” This duck was also awesome, like confit — or maybe it was confit.

The open kitchen. The place was packed too, even on a holiday Wednesday, after having been open a mere two weeks.

The pastry chef here is world class.

“COCONUT BAVAROIS / coffee, condensed milk, thai basil, peanut croquant, chicory.” This was fantastic. All sorts of interesting textures (check out those fish eye looking things), and a soft taste of coffee, a good dose of peanut butter — and basil!

“LEMONGRASS POTS DE CREME / sweet potato, orange blossom, red bull, bergamot.” Creme Brulee basically, but lemongrass! Unusualy, but excellent.

“BITTER CHOCOLATE / kecap manis, oats, pear, parsnip,brown butter.” This was also good, crunchy, drier — pretty.

I’m very excited about this place and its new flavors. I’ll head back soon. I hope, though, that they switch up the menu with great regularity. Not that what is there isn’t great, but it would seem a waste to stagnate this kind of creativity.

For a second meal at Red Medicine (different dishes for the most part), see HERE.