A Taste of Red Medicine

As proudly announced on their blog, recent Beverly Hills addition Red Medicine took some joy in not only throwing out but also publicly unmasking L.A. Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila. According to that post, the managing staff took issue with Virbila’s “unnecessarily cruel” and “irrational” reviews as well as her lack of “understanding of what it takes to run or work in a restaurant.”

But given that Sam Sifton and Jonathan Gold haven’t run any restaurants lately, was there something more to the boot? Consider Virbila’s 2009 review of Michael Mina’s XIV in which she had this to say of former XIV pastry chef and current Red Medicine chef/partner Jordan Kahn’s desserts:

By dessert, you’re longing for a couple of delicious bites to cap off the evening. But the pastry chef, Jordan Kahn, is trying too hard to top what came before. Witness the baby block-sized white chocolate cube filled with seven layers of various red fruits and such. It makes quite a visual statement until you break into it with a fork and it collapses into an unappetizing mess. There’s no way you can taste the layers the chef has so laboriously prepared: It’s all mush.

And a glass of what’s described as hazelnut milk with frosted flakes is served with a sugar “barrel” with whiskey at the bottom. With its cacophony of flavors, this may be one of the worst desserts I’ve tasted.

According to Food Editor Russ Parsons, the Times will continue with its plans to review Red Medicine.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “A Taste of Red Medicine

  1. Ouch! This is all starting to make a lot more sense. Way to sleuth!

  2. Carol

    I’ve always found Virbila’s reviews to be overly generous to mediocre restaurants.

    The review posted wasn’t mean, it was honest. There was no name calling, she simply stated her opinion that the dessert was the worst she’d ever had. If that’s not what a reviewer is supposed to do, what is?

  3. Um, the dude needs a thicker skin.

  4. Belinda Gomez

    This guy is a total amateur. Every big-name chef in town knows what S. Irene looks like. Honestly–he got a lot of press, but who would want to eat there? Ask him about the portrait of Ho Chi Minh that was on display.

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