I’ll tell you this – I wouldn’t date someone as young as Red Medicine chef Jordan Kahn, so it’s shocking to me that in his youth he has developed a hand so skilled, so innovate, that anything he touches in the kitchen becomes edible gold. Finally, a (much needed) score for men in their 20s. On Tuesday night Tasting Table and Breville hosted a “One Night Only” feast at Beverly Hills’ Red Medicine, with Kahn in the kitchen. 14 courses, 3 cocktails, and a loosened belt later, I turned to my friend Alissa with the motto, “Yes we Kahn!”
Under a jungle canopy of crinkled celtuce, tender spears of delta asparagus and shiny legumes rest in a stratus of smoked tofu. One might navigate through this dish the way one would roam through a garden: sample a curling cirrus here, an arching chartreuse sliver there.
In a shallow lake of buttermilk, delicate slices of amberjack and long gossamer slices of coral colored seaweed are arranged in a ethereal ring and crowned with a tangle of succulents. Glossy bubbles of tapioca add more texture on the tongue. It’s an exotic and photogenic spin on sashimi.
A quartet of chicken dumplings, served on a pocketed tray with their garnishes, are meant to be eaten in a fan of butter lettuce, with a smear of Hoisin sauce and a mint leaf. This is poultry at its finest, grounded, perfectly spiced, and juicy.
Encased in a crepe-like shell, the spring rolls are stuffed with a dungeness crab, herbs and pea pods and served under dainty sprigs of sweet cicely and chives.
A halo of gelatinous spring peas and powdered coconut evokes the beauty of the Secret Garden in culinary form. Green tendrils sprawl from leafy vegetation. When messed with a fork, a fuchsia pool seeps into surrounding ingredients. It’s an evolving, edible work of art.
Beef tartare, sweetened by the flavor of peanuts, then spiced, is best eaten when piled into the fold of a crackling shrimp crisp. A dollop of chlorophyll provides a palatable segue from previous vegetal dishes to the incorporation of meat.
These days brussels sprouts are omnipresent on every menu, but Red Medicine’s rendition is in a class of its own. Caramelized to a chocolate brown, a scattering of leaves are cooked to a crunch while the core of each bud is supple and juicy.
Cloaked in a silky crepe, the dungeness crab, soft and buttery, is served with passion fruit and fronds of oyster mushrooms.
The heirloom rice porridge is as comforting as a log cabin in winter but as exotic as vacation in Phu Quoc. Break the golden egg yolk into the creamy concoction and stir it with the ground hazelnut, and ginseng.
You don’t need a knife to cut into the Wagyu beef Brisket, notably braised for 36 hours. It pulls with ease. Coated in a sugared glaze, the brisket is sweet, and practically melts on the tongue.
A whole black bass is grilled with wild herbs and plated on a charcoal slate. Under a thin layer of silver skin, the fish has a subtle, clean flavor.
Glazed with vinegar and malted barley, the heritage pork belly may be the most basic dish in presentation, but do not mistake that for simplistic flavors as well. The flavors of this generous cut speak for itself. Rich and meaty, it is a notable finale for the main dishes.
The coconut bavarois looks like a geology diorama with its earthy color palette and precision in design. You can dissect it in sections, pairing a spoonful of condensed milk with a dab of pureed thai basil. Nevertheless, it’s satisfying to mix up the flavors and find yourself eating the peanut croquant with the zap of the coffee; and the herbal basil with the sweetness of the coconut.
The finale arrives on a black plate, an amalgamation of every imaginable flavor and texture. Dehydrated chocolate mousse boosts a soy milk sorbet, under a noodle-like trail of brown butter and a few pinches of oats.
The rest of the evening was further complimented by the aesthetic and service. Hailing from the film world, restaurant designer Charisse Cardenas has crafted a space that exudes the warmth of barnyard chic, with the visual simplicity of modern lines and an open, flowing floor plan. Floor to ceiling windows and well-placed light fixtures allow for just the right amount of illumination even as the evening transitioned from summer twilight to a deep midnight. Our servers were gracious, knowledgeable, and affable. What’s this?, I could say while pointing to an obscure snippet on my plate. Oh that’s the lotus root, they’d respond without hesitation. And the people of Breville couldn’t have been kinder. After a chat with one of them between courses, I said to Alissa, “Now that’s a lady we’d be friends with. I want to have a cocktail with her!” Luckily for us, Red Medicine offers a late night menu, and Alissa and I did have the chance to hang out by the bar and talk with our new friends from Breville. We departed the restaurant with our Breville Control Grips in tow, bellies full, and hugged each other goodbye.
Red Medicine, 8400 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90211. (323) 651-5500. (Open daily from 6 pm – 2 am)