Saved by the Décor?
by Sophie Gayot
Red O is currently the hot place to see and be seen in Los Angeles. It’s celebrity chef Rick Bayless’ first restaurant outside of Chicago. There he operates Frontera Grill which has become a mecca for food lovers in the Windy City, and next-door neighbor Topolobampo, which some rate as one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country. I cannot say all these good things about his restaurant on Melrose.
Last night, I headed to Red O for dinner, and tried 25 (yes, twenty-five) dishes plus two desserts. I had a rather disappointing meal, especially since I had high expectations. The best dish of all was the pescado Zarandeado, a wood-grilled striped bass basted with red chili and served with three salsas, Veracruz-style white rice with sweet plantains and arugula salad. On the other side of the scale, avoid the creamy goat cheese cheesecake accompanied by Mexican “root beer” sauce and caramel popcorn.
If the food is not the reason to go there (and I saw the place packed on a Monday night), it must be the décor. It is just spectacular, both inside and out. In every direction, there are attention-grabbing decorative elements and details. The combination of materials, colors, lighting, shapes, furniture, and atmospheres in the different rooms help make Red O so popular with well-heeled diners. The design firm G+ Gulla Jonsdottir Design can be proud.
You can click on each photo to enlarge All photos by Sophie Gayot