Red O Restaurant Mexican Cuisine by Rick Bayless
…features menus designed by the renowned chef responsible for changing the image of Mexican food in America. Most people know Bayless from his highly rated PBS series “Mexico—One Plate at a Time,” and from his seven cookbooks. In 1987, he founded side-by-side restaurants in Chicago: the casual Frontera Grill and the sophisticated Topolobampo. In 2007, Frontera Grill was awarded Outstanding Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. The organization has also honored him as Midwest Chef of the Year, National Chef of the Year, and Humanitarian of the Year. His book, Mexican Everyday, was also nominated for a James Beard Award. In August 2009, Chef Bayless was crowned the winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” beating out 23 other culinary luminaries. RED O is the first Los Angeles restaurant with cuisine by Rick Bayless, and his first venture outside of Chicago.
RED O’s menu features both authentic Mexican and lighter California-style dishes. The “Bright Bites” section includes a selection of Ceviches and Tostaditas, while the “Savory Snacks” section features various Sopes, Queso Fundidos, Taquitos, and Tamales. The “Cazuelas for Soft Tacos” portion of the menu highlights a variety of regional Mexican flavors for making your own soft tacos, and the “Enchiladas & Tacos al Carbon” category focuses on a few classic offerings that are the cornerstone of Mexican cuisine. The centerpiece of Bayless’s menu is “Mexico’s Celebrated Seven,” which includes his take on iconic dishes, such as Pollo en Mole Poblano and Cochinita Pibil.
RED O’s bold, dramatic décor includes custom furniture and accents arranged in an open floor plan, enabling one to survey it in its entirety from almost any spot in the restaurant, with each space flowing seamlessly to the next. A dining courtyard, crowned by two 14-foot chandeliers hand made by Mexican artisans, is surrounded by massive garage doors that open to Melrose Avenue on one side, and the main dining room on the other. A 14-foot communal table made of solid walnut and bronze sits in the main dining room alongside a bar surrounded by handmade leather swings in which guests can gently sway while enjoying wine, tequila, or cocktails. Across the room, a sofa-style banquette sits underneath a wall adorned with over 400 brass bells, with a semi-private dining room tucked into another corner. A distinctive glass tequila tunnel, showcasing an extensive selection of premium spirits, winds from the dining room to RED O’s Tequila Lounge. Here, guests can sit at the bar made from boulders underneath the canopy of a palm tree, adjacent to a small pool filled with floating candles, or venture outside onto the newly renovated exterior Garden Patio, sheltered by 5′ hedges on the sidewalk of Melrose Ave.