In Los Angeles, not only are people sentenced to 15 minutes of fame, but so are the hot spots. This week we decided to hit up Red O, the much-anticipated upscale Mexican restaurant brought to California from Chicago by master Chef Rick Bayless. (If you don’t know who he is, check out his show Mexico- One plate at a Time, his many cookbooks or his title of “Top Chef Master”).
Design-wise the space is airy, sexy and playful. Sleek elegance meets casual sophistication with a 25 foot long fireplace, soaring sky-high ceilings and a dramatic tequila tunnel. Hundreds of church bells in the corner add flair, while the only red object in the room happens to be a distinct designer chair made of bent red sticks.
The food is an interesting mix of appetizers (“bright bites”) and authentic main dishes. The avocados are flown in from Mexico, and the staff says it is the best guacamole that you will ever have. We sampled the Grilled Mazatlan Blue Shrimp, Bacon Tomato Queso Fundido, Sweet Plantain Sopas,Shredded Creek Stone Beef Short Rib Sopas, Slow cooked Sonoma Duck Taquitos, Sonoma Country Lamb in Chile Colorado Tacos and Veracruz-style Bunuelos with salted ice cream and warm Kahlua chocolate sauce.
One of the highlights of Red O is their mixologist, Steven Calabro. Formulating tasty around the world for years, he was hired on to create specialty drinks to compliment the food, and is probably the only mixologist you will meet that has his own fresh grenadine. One of the most popular drinks is the Alacran Margarita. Nicknamed The Scorpion, it is made with commemorative anejo tequila, Veev Acai spirit, Torres orange liqueur, fresh limonada, Serrano infused syrup with a little heat at the end. Some other notable libations include the La Sirena (Herradura silver tequila &Veev Acai spirit, homemade limonada, mango grenadine & serrano-mint simple syrup) , the La Guera (Tanqueray 10 gin, fresh lime juice & Rosemary syrup) and the Red O Sunrise (Patron silver tequila, fresh squeezed orange juice, mango grenadine, & Rubyy blood orange energy drink ).
Red O Restaurant
8155 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046