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Rick Bayless’ take on regional Mexican cuisine comes to Fashion Island. Check out GAYOT.com's review of chef Rick Bayless' cookbook, Fiesta at Rick's.
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Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sat.-Sun.
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Dining room at Red O, Newport Beach, CA

Red O Restaurant Review

: Chicago-based chef Rick Bayless' second foray into Southern California --- his first venue is in West Hollywood --- makes a great deal of effort to tap into the sleek side of Newport Beach and its legendary shopping center. The large restaurant's intriguing, curiously Moorish décor is festooned with dark reds, deep woods and a wall of tequila. The bar and lounge is by the entrance, followed by the main dining room, patios that can be sectioned off with curtains, and an adjacent pavilion that can provide additional private dining space. Executive chef Keith Stich takes the wheel in the kitchen, and he and his staff oversee a menu stocked with Bayless' interpretations of regional Mexican fare. Begin your meal with starters such as the short rib sopes or ceviches. Mains are highlighted by Colorado lamb chops served in mole negro sauce; slow-cooked carnitas pork complemented by a red chile sauce; and grilled steelhead in Serrano crema with herby green and charred vegetables. An effort is made to present sustainable seafood as recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program. These dishes can be paired with a host of sides, most notably the red chile kale prepared in a guajillo chile sauce. For a sweet finale, try the tangerine flan with Mexican chocolate cake, chocolate ganache and Mexican chocolate ice cream. Weekend brunch brings options like chilaquiles along with endless cocktails (margaritas, sangria, etc.). A smart selection of wines, an extensive tequila list (including flights) and cocktails made with mescal, tequila and other spirits round out the dining experience.

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