99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Red Medicine

photo by Anne Fishbein

At Red Medicine, the sentiment remains but the inspiration has changed. After three years, chef Jordan Kahn has thrown out his original conceit, a Vietnamese theme, and his food now serves only one god: the divine guidance of Jordan Kahn. He’s foraging a lot these days, perhaps more seriously than any other well-known chef in town, but the wow factor remains his gorgeous platings and flavor combinations. You might, for instance, get a combination of trout roe and lemon curd, served in a glass bowl that looks more suited for a goldfish than your dinner, with raw snap peas and an “ice” made from snap pea shells. Or Dungeness crab, seasoned with an emulsion made from its shell, wrapped in lettuce, grilled over charcoal, with fermented garlic paste, passion fruit and spicy herbs. It’s texturally confusing, highly interactive and outrageously delicious. Kahn remains one of the most exciting pastry chefs in town, with a flair for drama and surprise. The trendy room and offbeat service barely make sense with all this high-concept food, but if an adventure on the plate is what you’re in the mood for, Red Medicine’s oddities are absolutely worth abiding.