Noah Ellis Revisits Red Medicine's Reasons for Virbila Ouster

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Noah Ellis Photo: Elizabeth Daniels via Eater

It's been over a year since Red Medicine co-owner Noah Ellis delivered the boot to S. Irene Virbila's backside, adding injury to insult by exposing the once anonymous critic's mug in an organized leak to local media and offering her a steady diet of nothing. Ellis admits he didn't necessarily have the most eloquent argument for ousting the critic from his waiting room back in the day, so today he tries again in an interview with Eater.

First thing first, he makes no apology about the incident, and at the risk of being a repeater, explains the root of the problem was Virbila's panning of one of Jordan Kahn's desserts at XIV as "one the worst she's ever tasted." Echoing what we've heard many a chef and restaurateur say in private (and sometimes not so private), Ellis prefaces his words with the observation that, "her understanding of the current dining scene is questionable at best." So, after a year of reflection, would Red Medicine's bouncer gatekeeper do it all over again?

Ellis, who admits Red Medicine might not have been completely ready for a review at that point anyways, says, "I honestly don't know...We got a lot of publicity from this, for better or worse. I can't say if I'd do it again, but I definitely would have been more clear with our thoughts on the matter at the time...we didn't have the time to put together a well written response and handle all of the criticism we were getting. It brought a lot of haters out of the woodwork, which I think is hysterical." He later adds, "Within three months, it wasn't a big deal."

Noah Ellis Thinks Back Over One Year at Red Medicine [Eater]