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Restaurants & Bars 5

Medicine Eatstation (long)

Windy | Aug 23, 200501:10 AM

I met Jen Maiser and Suma at Medicine last week. They'd been open less than a week, and the whole experience was extremely aesthetic. I mean that in the best possible way: Medicine is definitely the designer showroom for simplicity. It's upstairs in Crocker Galleria, in the old Faz space. Everything is vegan.

We shared three of the set menus (a soba set, tempura set, and nigiri set) plus an extra order of homemade tofu and a fried tofu balls side.

Medicine excels at broths and sauces. A room temperature broth with fiddlehead ferns was delectable. The tiny polished grains of rice in the sushi were perfect--what rice aspire to be. The homemade soba is lovely, and I liked the novelty of the corn tempura, and the shiso and daikon nigiri. Flavors are subtle; it's temple food after all.

For me the highlight was the home-made tofu, which is served unadorned and could probably be dipped in one or many of the liquids on the table. It's of medium firmness, and the texture is fluffy. If you think you don't like tofu, this is the place to try again.

I'd contrast Medicine with Minako, another Japanese restaurant I know and love that offers great choices for vegetarians. Medicine is cool and formal where Minako is warm and home made and funky. Yoko uses stronger flavors in her cooking, and has an even better hand with sauces than Medicine's expert kitchen. Medicine's tofu would be even better with yuzu or Yoko's famous mommy sauce (worcestershire).

Unlike say Kai in NYC (upstairs from Ito En tea), which also has a formal aesthetic, Medicine is also friendly and airy, and the food tastes good rather than concepty.

The tables are made of incredibly polished wood, with quite comfortable benches. We admired the tables and wondered where to find them for our homes. The plates are also elegant. Three small wooden spoons of different sizes were presented. There's a video on the wall of a park in Utah with wind rippling through the trees...It's quite serene for such a large space with long tables.

Service is 17% and included. Everyone who served us came by to see if we were happy, and to extol the virtues of the food. They apologized for messing up the orders, even though they didn't actually mess them up. The owner also came by and asked if we had suggestions and gave me his card. After disappointing service or food in a rash of new restaurants recently, I was truly impressed by the level of professionalism for such a new spot.

Total was $15 each. Unlike previous posters, we were not hungry when we left.

The elevator is definitely in need of an upgrade to match the rest of the space. I should disclose that one of the line chefs is the friend of a friend; but she had nothing to do with the quality of our experience.

All in all, a big thumbs up. And recommended as a one of a kind experience for tourists and the mildly adventurous.

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