24: Coconut Bavarois at Red Medicine
24: Coconut Bavarois at Red Medicine.
Red Medicine is a complicated place. After a year existing in the shadow of it's infamous critic controversy -- in which the owners tweeted pictures of then L.A. Times critic S. Irene Virbila -- the restaurant finally began to develop into one of the hippest places to eat along Beverly Hills' restaurant row.
Chef Jordan Kahn plays the tortured artist/chef card well, working for weeks without a day off and keeping his kitchen staff to a bare, but overworked, minimum. Many of the dishes at Red Medicine are exquisite to look at, but Kahn's expertise shines through most with his desserts -- considering he made a name for himself as the pastry chef at the short-lived Michael Mina spot XIV, this might not come as a surprise.
Red Medicine's signature dessert is probably the coconut bavarois, which might either arrive in a clear eight-inch tall glass or a wide-mouthed white bowl, depending on the night. On the bottom is a rich custard made of coconut milk, then a small quenelle of coffee ice cream and drizzle of condensed milk, then a spoonful of crushed, freeze-dried chicory. Finishing things off are some slippery Thai basil seeds, a dot of basil pureé (or occasionally leaves) and some crumbly shards of what Kahn calls peanut croquant.
In the simplest description, Kahn has condensed the flavors of a Vietnamese iced coffee in a single dessert. Just sweet enough, and with a twinge of bitterness from the coffee and chicory. If the restaurant ever sold the croquant on it's own, which tastes remarkably similar to the stuff you find inside a Nutter Butter cookie, then it would probably be stuffed into every holiday gift bag in town. It is very rare that a dessert can alter the course of an entire meal, making you forget, say, a dry piece of lamb shoulder. Kahn's bavarois will make you do more than forget; it will have you questioning why you didn't order dessert first.
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