A New Kind of O

Red O

8155 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 655-5009

Price: $$$

I’m always a little hesitant when someone rants and raves about a “new” hip restaurant, especially in LA.

Every day there’s a new restaurant opening…a new menu or hot dish to try…but I truly believe that it takes at least a year for a restaurant to really settle into its own and perfect their menu, their service, and their atmosphere.

Winner of “Top Chef Masters”, Rick Bayless brought his award-winning Mexican cuisine from Chicago to LA in August of 2010.  The sleek dark wood exterior marked by the single large “O” exuded an elegance and exclusiveness that I’ve grown to appreciate in a late-night dining experience.  A doorman was posted outside the door, very much like the Hollywood area clubs, and we were met again by another “bouncer” and host upon our entry.  Needless to say, I wouldn’t be surprised if they asked me for my passport upon entry.  Only in LA…

The host took her time to search for my reservation and the bouncer stood ready to pounce.  As I silently cursed my designer knockoff flats and last season sweater, the host sighed in defeat as she found our name on the list (I whispered “down boy” to the bouncer who had a look of disappointment as our host led us to our table).

For such an irritating entry, the inside of Red O was quite cozy and accommodating.  The outdoor-indoor restaurant consists our outdoor couches and heat lamps and then a more formal dining experience inside. I looked around…so THIS is where the suited up business men came to observe the models of LA in their natural habitat.  I felt underdressed…and strangly short even though I stand at 5’10”.  I wrapped my Burberry scarf and whipped out my Armani lip gloss, holding both around me as a shield.  It must have worked as I saw our server push her way through the surrounding tables to take our order.

I wish I had a way to wipe away the pretentious exterior of Red O because the food (and oh…that food…) was something that I would recommend to anyone and everyone who hasn’t already experienced it.

It’s simple, delicious, non-greasy gourmet Mexican food.  Vegetables cut thick and grilled to perfection.  His award-winning Mole & these fantastic dishes called “Cazuelas” which were skillets of deliciousness served with a side of soft tacos.  The spinach Cazuela, with oyster sauce and roasted shiitake mushrooms…I was this close to licking the skillet clean.

I have never seen a wider selection of Ceviches and Escabeches; with everything from Albacore and Sea Scallops, to a Mushroom Escabeche in a sherry vinegar.

If you’re expecting your run of the mill “have some more tortilla chips” Mexican restaurant, then Red O is definitely not for you.  Just make sure to don your designer digs and cash your paycheck ahead of time…

But trust me, it’s worth it.

-Dine & Dish LA

Published in: on February 22, 2011 at 2:23 am  Comments (1)  
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