Despite spending four years of my life in Catholic high school, I didn’t grow up particularly religious. We were devout Christmas Catholics, with a possible Easter mass thrown in there if the egg hunt got over early. But even on those sporadic family trips to church, my 8 year old self generally wanted nothing to do with it. And how could I? It was Sunday morning, I hated the cut on my slacks, and there was a giant capture the flag game happening on the playground that people were going to be talking about tomorrow. I had places to be.
But throw a restaurant in an old abandoned church now that I’m an adult and running around makes my knees hurt? Sign me up.
When Redbird opened in downtown, it was a big deal. For one, it’s fancy. And with Ahmanson, Walt Disney Music Hall, and now The Broad all within vicinity, you can’t have enough of those. Also, it proved you didn’t have to bulldoze something to make downtown cool. The massive space is generally broken into two areas - a casual lounge area with a bar and the stunning main dining room with big white walls, an all-glass Cathedral ceiling, and a bar. It’s epic, unstuffy, and definitely my kind of church.
photo credit: Holly Liss
Upon opening the menu, you notice one thing - it’s also gigantic. If you can utilize Redbird in a group setting, you should. Because there are about 35 shared plate options to go around, and you’re going to want most of it. While some dishes definitely provide more of a religious experience than others, everything’s still quite good. The foie gras in green curry and chicken pot pie are tremendous, and will basically be gone upon hitting the table. The duck is the best of the big dishes, and while the Thai-style crab soup needs some serious spice, we’ll order it every time.
Is this a place we’ll be popping in everyday for a quick bite? No. Redbird is a high-end destination where people go to live large or impress the shit out of somebody important. This is where you take your parents before seeing Wicked, a client with big pockets for lunch, or that friend in town who convinced herself there’s nothing impressive about LA. Because with a great menu, unpretentious vibes, and a truly beautiful space, Redbird is the definition of impressive.
If only St. Rita’s had been the same.
La Belle Farms Foie Gras
How did California go so long without eating this baby? Sitting on a bed of rice and curry, this is one of our favorite versions in town right now. Beware: The portion is small, and your table will fight violently for it. Order two to be safe.
Chicken Pot Pie
This was the last thing we expected to be a stand out at a place like Redbird. But sure enough, this baby is the rich, savory, comforting goodness you want from a chicken pot pie.
Like a good Jennifer Aniston movie, this definitely isn’t bad, but it’s not particularly memorable either.
Thai Style Dungeness Crab Soup
If this thing had any kick at all to it, it would be the best thing on the menu. Oh well. The broth is still creamy, coconut goodness, and the mini crab tower in the middle is heaven.
Aged Liberty Farms Duck
One of the few bigger plates Redbird has on the menu, this dish is a must if you’re rolling in with a big group. And frankly, even if you’re not. The duck is cooked perfectly and that xo sauce on top is all we want.
Everybody knows that burrata is the best food in the world, but we need to give props elsewhere here. It’s the duck prosciutto on top of this salad that takes it to the next level and makes it a must first-round order.