Redbird

I usually know where I want my next meal to be in LA.  I keep a running list of places to try.  While that list continues to grow, sometimes my enthusiasm for the places wanes as I read reviews and blog posts.  Redbird was such a place.  The place generated much buzz and anticipation since Fraser had been off the fine dining scene since the closure of Grace.  With LA being more of a mecca for ethnic rather than high end eats, I look forward for any chance to wear my fancy pants and prepare to have my wallet raped.  Unfortunately, the reviews I read didn’t scream home run for Redbird but I always try to give every place a chance.  The Bear Crew wanted to convene for another one of our “Let’s Get Obese” dinners so this was our pick.  Our usual group of 6 (Luau Bear, Farm Bear, Buff Bear, Panda Bear, Mani Bear, and myself) grew to 8.  Newlyweds Silent Bear (previously known as Macadamia Nut Bear) and The Blonde Lady joined us for the first time.  I’m pretty sure they weren’t prepared for the obesity that was to follow.  We kinda over ordered…
Bread
The aesthetic of the place is clean, contemporary, with just a touch of hipster.  Take for instance the bread that comes in a small cloth tie string bags.  Is it this weeks laundry or is it hot toasty carb bombs?  Lucky for us, it was the latter.
Dinner Roll & Gougere

The dinner roll was whatever, and the gougere was a disappointing gummy dense rock.  I’m used to light fluffy cheesey delectableness.  Nope, just hockey pucks.

Grilled Spanish Octopus cherry tomatoes, black chickpeas, baby kale, anchovy vinaigrette

I appreciated the charred supple yet snappy tentacles.  The anchovy vinaigrette was a bit overpowering at points, but overall it was a nice dish.


Maryland Softshell Crab green curry, sweet peppers

A bit of a standout dish due to the flavorful spice brought by the curry.  The crab was crispy and meaty.

Avocado Salad smoked bacon, country line little gems, buttermilk blue cheese vinaigrette

This felt like a play on a cobb salad, minus the egg I guess.  The crunch of the little gems, the crisp of the bacon, and the smooth lusciousness of the avocado made for a nice dish.

Chicken Pot Pie hearts, thigh, thyme, hen of the woods
If you’re going to put something as simple as chicken pot pie on the menu, it better be the best damn pot pie ever.  It was just pot pie.  Nothing wrong but nothing memorable.  I think I would have preferred a thicker consistency to the sauce.  The mini pot is to die for though right??

Posole heritage pork belly, chicanitas

Hearty, warm, comforting.  Maybe a dish better appreciated during the winter.  Boy was that pork faaaatttty.

Potato Crusted Smoked Pork Shank romesco, charred broccolini
Fried. Pork. Balls.  BOOM!

Roasted Bone Marrow black garlic aioli, kimchee
This has been the most unique bone marrow dish I’ve had.  The black garlic aioli certainly brought a deep earthiness to the beefy fat.  The spicy kimchee cut through all of that flavor to bring some contrast.

Gnocchetti Sardi maine lobster, nettles, tomato confit
Easily the simplest dish of the night, but maybe one of the most solid.  Delicate, flavorful, yum!

Day Boat Scallops morels, lemon thyme risotto cake, pea nage
The scallops did not disappoint.  The risotto cake was a change of pace from the runny unctuousness of regular risotto, which commonly accompanies scallops.  I mistook it for a polenta cake at first.  The peas were sweet and tender.  The morels were earthy and full of umaminess.

Rabbitchetta anson mills polenta, pea tendrils, thyme sauce
I had a rabbit dish at Grace that I did not care too much for.  I felt similarly with this rabbit-meets-porchetta dish.  There was just something off about the meat’s texture.  Pass on this one.

Aged Liberty Farms Duck Breast wild rice, peaches, XO sauce
This was highly recommended, and was a generous portion of duck breast, but I was not particularly impressed.  The meat was cooked well but I would have liked some sauce or something.  The XO sauce did not stand out much.

Veal Fraser 24 oz wisconsin veal chop, 24 hour veal cheeks, burgundy snails 
This was the biggest disappointment, considering it was so damn expensive.  They recommended cooking it medium, which I slightly protested, but I leave it to the chef to cook my food the way he/she thinks it is best.  Man was this meat overcooked.  We talked to the management about it and because the meat is cooked on the bone, if they trying going more rare they can run the risk of undercooking.  I understand, but I was still bummed.  They comped our desserts and even threw in some extra ones we did not order.  Two thumbs up for service if anything else!

Chocolate Caramel Bar bourbon chocolate, smoked pecans, bananas foster ice cream
Chocolate lovers better go for this one.  I love this dessert bars that have layers of differing textured sweets.  Something soft, crunchy, cakey, smoothe always makes me feel like I’m eating multiple desserts.

Strawberry Tart harry’s berries, passion fruit, sablee, creme fraiche ice cream

This was like a deconstructed strawberry tart.  It was pretty simple bringing components of tart from the fruit, buttery crunch from the sablee, and creamy cool sweetness.  This was my favorite dessert.

Creamsicle vanilla, murcott tangerines, mint, chile

I couldn’t figure out what was going on here. That big white thing in the middle must have been some sort of ice cream or meringue ball.  We cracked it open and it broke into pieces of very frozen cream.  The tangerines were nice.  I guess this was supposed to be a deconstructed orange creamsicle.

Pain Perdu nectarines, brioche, brown butter ice cream

This was reminiscent of a breakfast dessert.  The brioche reminded me of french toast.

Redbird had a lot of hits and misses.  I think that’s how I felt about Grace as well.  The place certainly aspires to be something above casual but not quite fine dining.  I just wished it did a better job since we are paying quite a premium still.  I am not surprised by my experience here.  I didn’t anticipate a home run.  I’m pretty sure many of the Bears also felt kinda “meh” about the place.  We’re a hard crowd to please I guess.  The ambiance is definitely really cool.  A major section of the dining area is open air with a rooftop that can be closed and covered.  Lucky for us it was a lovely summer evening under the blue skies of LA.  Unfortunately, the inviting ambiance and attentive service could not make up for the food that left us wanting better.

10 – You NEED to eat here 
9 – Awesome! 
8 – Very good
7 – Good 
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT go here

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