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Red O

8155 Melrose Ave. (N. Kilkea Dr.) Send to Phone
323-655-5009 | Make Restaurant Reservations | Menu
A modern Mexican resto-lounge from Chicago chef Rick Bayless. Check out GAYOT.com's review of chef Rick Bayless' cookbook, Fiesta at Rick's.
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Local Deals: 120 * 90

Cuisine
Open
Dinner nightly, Brunch Sun.
Open late Thurs.-Sat.
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  • 3.0 star rating
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3.0 rating over 3 reviews
Dining room at Red O, Los Angeles, CA

Red O Restaurant Review

: The former cozy Moustache Café has been reborn as Red O, a buzzing space frequented by a scene-savvy crowd. The décor is strictly hip L.A., with a wall covered by 400 brass bells, a lounge with a 25-foot fireplace, and graceful Mexican glass chandeliers dangling high above a courtyard patio. Chef Rick Bayless designed the menu. Despite being based 1,500 miles north of the Mexican border --- his Chicago restaurants Topolobampo and Frontera Grill are legendary --- Bayless is an expert on Mexican cuisine. All traditional cuisines hold potential for experimentation and innovation, but that is probably less true for Mexican food because it is so deeply rooted in tradition, culture and soil. There’s little room for playing with the basics that reflect a history and a territory with such a strong character. So sticking to the rules with some timid, and not always successful (though deserving) forays --- such as a goat cheese cake, for instance --- into the rest of the world is what chef Bayless has chosen to offer Angelenos, who are used to Mexican flavors and quite familiar with enchiladas and tacos of any description. Starters encompass a generous plating of halibut ceviche, tinted green with avocado, cucumber or a cilantro-serrano “chimichurri.” The sopes are topped with pork belly that is equal parts sweet and hot. Among the main courses, we found the chicken mole poblano and the braised pork shoulder tinga poblana leaning a tad on the dry side, but liked the satisfying grilled chicken in crema poblana on a bed of spinach and caramelized onions in a thick crème; the pescado Zarandeado, striped bass served with three salsas, rice and delightful plantains; and the very classic carne asada brava with sweet corn tamales and grilled onions. We missed flan, that deliciously simple, traditional Mexican sweet that was not (at least not yet) on the menu, and were less interested in the more international ice cream sundaes. The wine list offers selections from South America at a very reasonable price. However, considering the cuisine, we might have expected to find a bottle or two from Mexico, but this slight oversight is more than made up for in the prized tequila selection that’s encased between wavy, translucent walls that wind through the restaurant. If the night is clear, the ceiling will open to let you raise your tasty glass of Topolo, Maceta or Alacran margaritas up to the “estrellitas” of the glittering California night. Buenas Noches!

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