Jonathan Gold Reviews Red Medicine

02/03/2011 01:07 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

If you were to have stumbled into Red Medicine this winter, maybe late after a movie, maybe with a reservation you booked two weeks early on OpenTable, you might have encountered a dish called "early season roots and legumes," unpromisingly enough, an appetizer that sounds like something more often served at a Tarzana vegan café than at an advanced fleshpot of cuisine. When the waitress suggests it, your shrug speaks less of pleasure than of resignation, the way it does when you realize an izakaya waiter is going to bring you edamame whether you care for boiled soybeans or not. But then the dish arrives -- a large white bowl, mostly empty, holding ... what? An avant-garde flower arrangement? A miniature bonsai? A garnish for soup that is yet to come?

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