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Besha Rodell Thinks Redbird Anchors Downtown's Dining Scene

The review isn't all positive, but Neal Fraser's newest project manages to snag three stars.

Elizabeth Daniels

Redbird, Chef Neal Fraser's restaurant within the Vibiana Cathedral, had one of the buzziest openings of 2014. Rightfully so, considering the project took nearly five years to come to fruition. This week, Besha Rodell gives her take on Downtown's "major shiny new restaurant," which she finds to be a fine place to spend a special evening:

Redbird is a restaurant for when the mood strikes to live high on the hog, a place for eating in a decadent but sturdy fashion. Fraser excels at big hunks of protein, be it an extravagant slab of seared foie gras served with tart quince and cocoa nibs, or a rack of red wattle pork accompanied by roasted apples and turnips, the pig fat crisped just so at the edges, the interior juicy and piggy. The $110, 36-ounce porterhouse could feed a table of four and provides some deeply gratifying bites of beef, tangy and charred and bloody. [LAW]

The review isn't entirely positive though, with the LA Weekly critic leaving without a real understanding of Fraser as a cook:

Amid the lavishness of Redbird, exemplified by the foie gras and the soaring ceilings and the fantastic wine, it's hard to nitpick the restaurant's one great flaw, but nitpick I will: Fraser's menu is a triumph of American luxury, but it lacks any real point of view, and in that sense it seems a little dated, like the menus of high-end restaurants 10 or 15 years ago. There's a dearth of surprises, and Fraser's attempts at true modernity, such as that uni dish, tend to fall flat. [LAW]

Ultimately, Rodell finds Redbird to be an important addition to the downtown dining scene, and awards the restaurant three stars.


The Elsewhere: Joshua Lurie lists the 10 best non-Korean restaurants in Koreatown for Discover Los Angeles, Bill Esparza discusses Oaxacan tacos at Expresión Oaxaca, and Eddie Lin samples the new school and old school Chinese fare at New School Kitchen.


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