Redbird has been a long time coming. The seasonal modern American restaurant inside the rectory building of downtown's gorgeous Vibiana from chef Neal Fraser (also of BLD) has been in the works since 2009. But now, it's finally come to fruition: After a couple of weeks of soft opening, today marks Redbird's official opening date.
Fraser and his wife Amy (who is managing partner and co-owner of Redbird) are, as you might imagine, great explorers of the city's dining scene, along with their two daughters. Here are the ten places they recommend, the ten places they find themselves returning to again and again.
“Kokekokko in Little Toyko, on corner of 2nd and central is one of our favorites. Love how they try to keep you out. Every time we go they ask us if we have been before and tell us the minimum order of skewers. The ground chicken with rice, rare duck breast, special heart, gizzard and thigh are amazing. A place that should not be missed. Always packed. Sopporo on draft is always super cold.”
9. Viets Noodle Bar in Atwater
“We start salivating when can figure out a time to steal away for lunch. Go to dishes: chicken bahn mi, bread crisp and fresh, chicken lightly dressed, and the chicken pho which has the best broth anywhere, hands down.”
“The dinner is good. Their brunch is super good. Baked pancake, fried chicken sandwich, shrimp and grits all superb. They do the second best brunch in L.A., behind BLD, of course.”
7. Belcampo Meat Co. at Grand Central Market
“The pea soup and the burger are great. So nice to eat such great quality meat, and the pea soup is so satisfying. Really sticks to your ribs on a cold winter's day in L.A.”
“Linguini with Bottarga. The only thing we order when we go there. Not sure it's even on the menu. Super good: salty, buttery, perfect.”
5. Yai Thai
“The duck with chili and garlic is the go-to dish, with sticky rice. The duck is moist, lots of skin and chilis. Nuc Mam on the side. Pour it over the rice and eat. Had it a hundred times. Always solid.”
“Our Redbird neighbors. Many lunches there while the restaurant was under construction. Solid Indian food. Butter Chichen, Chana Masala and Masala Fries are our favorites.”
“Korean Barbecue. Always delicious. Very kid-friendly — our youngest, pickiest loves it. Bi Bim Bap is the best comfort food.”
“Probably on a bunch of lists and for good reason. Both our daughters like it too (the big one easy to please, the little one hard to please). Zach offered to cook a special pasta last time we went. She ordered the Tortellini in Brodo, then she wouldn't share. We're sure it was good. So was the Lamb Belly with Chickpea Cake. And the Maccheroncini with Chicken Liver gives Marc Vetri's a run for its money. A real neighborhood gem with food as good as anywhere in the city.”
1. Sushi Gen
“The best sushi in Los Angeles for what you spend. It's amazing. We usually find ourselves sitting in front of the owner who is cutting fish like he is taking a reading class with Evalyn Wood. The live scallop, tai snapper, spanish mackerel, sea urchin sashimi, and the ankimo are the best. We could eat there every day and never tire of it.”