Is It Any Good?

The place everyone’s been talking about in Downtown, Los Angeles.

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People have been talking and talking about this place since it opened a couple of months ago. Jonathan Gold called it the most anticipated restaurant of the decade. I’ve been dying to come here, to eat here.

But I’m also broke, so I’ve got to play a little carefully with the moolah.

Then, an email happened: one broadcasting a $25 pre-fixe lunch menu for one particular week in July.

It’s as it the fine folk at Redbird sensed my hesitation and passed along this email to assuage my financial concerns.

That or my buddy Jonathan (another Jonathan, not named Gold) knew I wanted to eat here, and passed along the email.

You know. Either or.

Apparently, the space Redbird used to occupy was St. Vibiana’s, the former center of Catholicism in town. Now it’s a high rent area, and perfect for a place like Redbird.

Inside Redbird in Little Tokyo.

Pulling up (I mean, we haven’t even gotten inside yet). You won’t feel like you’re in Little Tokyo. In fact, after you sit down, you won’t even feel like you’re in Downtown L.A.

But you are. You’re both. You’re (literally) in the shadow of the CALTRANS Building, which of course sits across the street from City Hall. So expect to see a lot of City Workers here. Hell, you can probably even see Mayor Garcetti.

Not that I did.

The restaurant doesn’t exactly go out of it’s way to blare it’s presence to the neighborhood. I mean, it’s a white sign, with thin black letters. It’s a beautiful sign, but it’s hard to see. Hell, I had to use the force to figure out what door to go into to find the place. I figured the glass door with the pretty Hostess waiting inside was the way to go.

It’s hard to describe the ambiance of Redbird. The first word that strikes you is “French” but that’s not fair. Nouveau Californian? Ehhh, probably not that either.

Then I watch a plate of food fly by. Okay, so maybe a little nouveau Californian.

Tiny precious plates, beautifully prepared. Yeah that just screams nouveau Californian.

It’s a fancy room, but they found a way to make it comfortable, almost causal. Some of the prices might disabuse you of that notion, but others…like the pre-fixe lunch I’m having will definitely not.

As sexy as this place looks at night, gotta say. The daytime looks amazing as well. Light. Airy. Open. That alone gives it high marks.

Of course the big light panels you think you’re looking at are actually made of white cloth.

The flap of the white panels should have been a dead giveaway.

Oh yeah, thats right, they can open those babies up at night and let in the cool night air.

The bar at Redbird.

Now I really want to see it at night.

In the end we all want good. You don’t gotta be cheap if you’re good, but it helps. Redbird is good. Really, really amazingly good.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Like I said, Food Blogger’s rollin’ on a budget, so the $25 pre-fixe Menu it is.

You get three courses: Appetizer, Main and Dessert.

For the appetizer, I got the Sweet Corn Soup.

The Sweet Corn Soup at Redbird.

This…this told me I was in for something special. The Waiter set it in front of me, and I took it’s smell in…

Seriously, I have never…ever smelled Corn Soup like this before. I’ve never smelled regular Corn soup period. But this…was heavenly.

It was like the restaurant was telling me, up front: “Nah, nah son. We got this.”

Yes, you do.

The sweetness of the corn, blended with just a little chiplote mole (a slightly dangerous ingredient for me, as Mole sauce contains peanuts. There wasn’t enough to set my allergiesRoasted off) and green Epazote Oil. The blend together was amazing in both texture and flavor. Sweet, but not overbearing. Almost a dessert, but desirable more just where it was.


After that I had the Spit Roasted Mary’s Chicken, a regular menu item. It’s a…well, a spit roasted Chicken with preserved lemon (which you will taste), olives, wild fennel atop a bed of carrots.

The Spit Roasted Mary's Chicken at Redbird.

The sauce? Amazing. Delicious, Succulent. You want more of this in you life.

Finally comes the Stone Fruit Crisp. So a small little pie of Blackberries, under a flaky delicious cobbler crust, dusted with powered sugar. And sitting on top of that is a generous scoop of Brown Butter Gelato.

The Stone Crisp Dessert at Redbird.

Brown Butter Gelato. I could have had that alone, and been deliriously happy.

Like I said. I need more of this in my life.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Like I said, it’s a little hard to see from the street. Besides the white on white background, the sign is buried behind some trees.

Also, when I was there, there was construction on S. Main Street, which may make your life a little difficult, but come in from the right angle, and you’ll be okay.

Also, the Google Hours, as of publication were just dead-ass wrong.


PARKING: Trust me. You’re doing the Valet. I know you may not want to do the Valet, but…you’re doing Valet. It’s just easier. Pay the $8.50 and save yourself the hassle.


114 East Second Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tel: (213) 788-1191
Monday-Friday (Lunch) 11:30am – 1:30pm, Happy Hour 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Monday – Sunday (Dinner) 5:00 pm – 10:45 pm

Redbird in Little Tokyo.