Red Medicine is a restaurant that we envisioned while opening restaurants for Michael Mina. Conceived after 18-hour shifts in the restaurants, at 3 in the morning, usually at some dive in Chinatown, over steaming bowls of pho. The lack of sleep, partial apathy, and blurred vision are all symptoms to expect during the stressful time of opening a restaurant.
We always needed some sort of medicine to cure our ails during the last few moments of freedom, before returning again, hours later. It seemed our cravings always migrated towards Asian, particularly Vietnamese. The smell of mint, cilantro, and peanuts, the radiant warmth of Thai chili, the satisfying richness and funk of fish sauce, the acidic slap in the face of lime.
It was as heart-warming to us as our grandmother’s cooking… except, of course, she wasn’t Vietnamese. We are not Vietnamese. We’re not even Asian. Not even close. As nights like this continued, the concept began to take shape. At some point, it became clear what we would set out to do.
This is not a traditional Vietnamese restaurant. We are not Vietnamese. Hell, we’ve never even been to Vietnam! Don’t try to compare our banh mi or spring roll with your favorite spot in Westminster that you’ve been eating at since childhood.
Ours is likely not better, just different. Our bun cha is not striving to replicate the one that your mother used to make. Hers is better, and next time she makes it we’d love to be over. We are not attempting to create a fusion, nor replicate classics.
We are simply inspired by the cuisine itself, and how it makes us feel. This is our homage, our adoration, and our inspiration – this is our 3am dive in Chinatown – our version anyways.