114 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 1/15/15
Neal & Amy Fraser’s Grace seems like so long ago; it’s been 4.5 years since the doors closed for good (I was at their final night). Two restaurant concepts (Playa and Petty Cash) have since replaced Grace on Beverly Blvd while Fraser’s Redbird faced delay after delay after delay. I remember years ago when this concept at the Vibiana was first announced in the “up-and-coming” downtown restaurant scene. Since then, downtown has certainly arrived and I think Redbird will make a great addition to the neighborhood.
Redbird is serving new American cuisine in a beautiful space at the Vibiana. Large windows, a live tree, and an open-air “ceiling” make for a spot that almost feels outdoors; I think it’ll be particularly nice to dine here during summer evenings.
I stopped in the previous week after an Art Walk stroll to get some of Julian Cox’s cocktails and a couple of snacks from the menu (chicken pot pie!). However, a full meal was definitely in order on this evening.
The amuse bouche at Redbird came in the form of a cocktail; this cocktail and a bottle of wine kicked off the liquid part of the meal.
Adonis Cocktail sherry, vermouth, bitters
A bread basket including gluten free gougeres began the food part of the meal.
Potato Crusted Smoked Pork Shank romesco, charred broccolini
These were very good – crispy, juicy and full of porky flavor. Romesco and charred broccolini provided a lot of balance to the rich bites.
Braised Goat Gemelli rapini, fresno chili, garlic bread crumbs, poached egg
Al dente gemelli was paired with a goat ragu and a poached egg. This was rich and very savory with some heat from the chilies and crunchy breadcrumbs.
La Belle Farms Foie Gras pistachio, cacao nibs, quince, brioche
My first foie gras since the ban, this piece was pan seared with sweet quince and crunchy pistachio. Cacao nibs provided a chocolate undertone; a good dish, though the liver almost got lost in all of the flavors.
John Dory fregola, mussels, morcilla, flavors of bouillabaisse
The John Dory was prepared just right in a flavorful shellfish broth. Mussels and blood sausage morcilla provided accompanying flavors.
Duo of Beef grilled new york, short rib, kale ‘croutons,’ confit potatoes, parmesan fondue
Both pieces of beef were good; the sirloin could’ve been slightly more tender but flavors were there, and the short rib was fork tender excellent. A rich jus provided even more flavors while a sort of kale ‘sponge’ and potatoes completed the dish.
Black Walnut Cake poached pear, cahoots saison, humboldt fog ice cream
The cake was very dry, moreso a bread. The pear and beer jelly added a little more liquid, but it was still just too dry. The ice cream was interesting, a grassy goat cheese flavor from the notable cheese from NorCal.
Bread Pudding pickled persimmons, pomegranate, hazelnut, dulcey ice cream
Bread pudding was served warm, a very comfortable dessert with plenty of fruit and a delicious ice cream.
The meal at Redbird was a very good one and I’m excited to have it downtown. The food kept things interesting and was consistently delicious. I wish each dish was described as they arrived at the table though; I feel like the food deserves it. I found myself having to consult a quick photo of the menu on my phone. Nevertheless, I’ll be back to Redbird to try more of this menu.