Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Summary: LA's "Haute" Asian Cuisine? Lukshon vs WP24 vs Red Medicine

In my last three posts I talked about the three new high end asian restaurants Lukshon, WP24, and Red Medicine. To those of you who have been to these restaurants, what are your thoughts?

For me, I've found good dishes at each, but to the ultimate question "was anything compelling enough to get me back again and again and again?" the answer is not yet...

Here is a summary of what I think, let me know what you think about them too.

Appetizers: $11-$19. Entrees: $19-32. Noodles: $12-14.

Lukshon probably has the best and most interesting food (although I heard the experience in the main dining room of WP24 is great as well). Sang Yoon's kitchen team has the spices and flavors down for the most part (the rendang sauce still did not taste like rendang to me). Do try the sausage-stuffed squid. Mattatouille demands you go now for their dan dan noodles. They also have good cocktails, which is always a plus. Appetizers were fairly priced but the entrees were as expensive as Spago.

Sausage-Stuffed Squid

Appetizers: $12-18. $80 for 3 courses, $110 for 4 courses.

Wolfgang Puck is no newcomer in this area. His Chinois on Main has been a Venice institution over many years. WP24 has a gorgeous lounge with a view, and good dumplings. I heard the WP24's dining room experience is worth a try, and I will eventually do so. The price? Think Wolfgang Puck multiplied by Ritz Carlton. It's a place to impress your date, where ambiance matters. KevinEats admits that it's "unabashedly expensive" but "pretty damn tasty."
WP24's Crystal Dumplings

Red Medicine
Appetizers: $8-16, "protein": $9-21.

It's hard for me to say much more about Red Medicine just based on my Test Kitchen experience, but I'm not sure I want to support the owner of the restaurant. Is it a fair review, comparing it just based on Test Kitchen? True, probably not - but on the other hand we were technically still their first paying customers (and honestly, I thought my review wasn't particularly negative).

Chef Jordan Kahn is talented and some of his interpretation of Vietnamese dishes is quite inspired, though not everything worked. The portions at Test Kitchen was small and I've heard similar reports about the actual Red Medicine. JGold tried most of the dishes and found enough to come back for. The Minty spent $90 per person and liked the cocktails and desserts the best. At least at the restaurant I can just throw more money to get full while I left TK hungry? I am extremely tempted to go for their dessert, though, as the one at Test Kitchen was amazing.

In the end, though, it's hard to imagine myself frequenting these establishments, due to their prices. I certainly want to return to Lukshon and try their dan dan noodles. I will eventually try WP24's dining room, and I may even visit Red Medicine. But the money spent per person at these places can get me a 4-lb lobster at Newport Tan Cang! In the end, you'd have to pay the price for the chefs' unique interpretations (which worked for the majority of the dishes), the undoubtedly better ambiance, and (hopefully) better service.

For thoughs, disagreements, etc, the comments are open for all.



Yeah, I agree. If you haven't been to Red Medicine you have nothing to say. FAIL.


How many dollars do I want to bet that 'Adam' is RM's very own? From entrepreneur to internet troll. Fail is as fail does.


Gret roundup! i enjoyed Lukshon a lot and WP24 is on my list. I just dined at RM too and I enjoyed it, definitely want to go back. TK can be tough to judge on so you should def give the restaurant a shot. get the sweetbreads


Adam is right. The 100+ ppl that had Red Med's food at Test Kitchen should know better than to have gone to that pop up to try their food. Because you know, the conditions weren't ideal. It's a pop up, so it's ok if the food and service sucks even if you paid 100 per person, it's just a part of the experience.

It's very tough to be first at test kitchen, because you have access to two kitchens instead of one like everyone else.


Yeah, if I was disappointed by their food at Test Kitchen, then that was my fault. Just because they put their name and stamp on the food doesnt mean they stand behind it, it's just a popup.

And if the owners' attitudes bug me so much that i dont want to go to the restaurant and give them my money, then that is my fault also.


Oh, and since I don't have "firsthand knowledge" and "have nothing to say", please ignore the part where I said the banh mi and cured amberjack was good, the beef bavette tender, and the coconut bavarois amazing. That's all probably false.

Curious what you would say if my review was actually all negative.

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