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Feb 12, 2010 01:03 AM

Rick Bayless to open LA Restaurant

Though I never understand this need to evoke a 'california' style.

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  1. I can't hardly wait. We loved his restaurants in Chicago and LA area needs a high quality, tasty food that he comes up with. I hope they will have his famous mole dish from the top chef masters.

    1 Reply
    1. you know, i was *thrilled* to hear the news, as i've always wanted to eat at one of Bayless' restaurants. but i confess, i am a bit disappointed that he apparently feels the need to take the menu in a somewhat different direction just because it's California. don't get me wrong, i'll still make a beeline for the place when i'm in town, i just hope he stays pretty true to his style so i can experience the food that has garnered him such respect and praise at his other restaurants.

      2 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        OMG - I am SO jealous. Rick Bayless is one of my faves!

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I don't think it is Mr. Bayless who "feels the need to take the menu in a somewhat different direction just because it's California". Apparently Rick has no ownership interest in this restaurant. He is acting as a consultant, designing menus, training the kitchen and overseeing the beverage program. I would guess the inclusion of some "lighter, California style" dishes was a requirement by the owners. Here are some reports with more information about Bayless' role:

        2. I for one will NOT be making a beeline to this new restaurant. I've eaten at his flagship Chicago eateries and frankly can't see what the fuss is all about. I've had far better Mexican and Mexican-inspired food in many places in southern California-- and usually for far less money. My last experience at Topolobampo was the worst; the food was so insipid I felt I was at an Acapulco's. It was just blah.

          I appreciate his enthusiasm and love for the food of Mexico; I just wish it was better-executed under his management. I'm not hopeful for this LA venture.

          4 Replies
          1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

            Well, can you mention a few places that are better than his restaurants?

            1. re: mrsjoujou

              My criteria for a good Mexican eatery are simple: flavor, heat that complements the flavor without overwhelming it, and an indescribable quality I've taken to calling chispa-- a spark of joy and pride and generosity of spirit that one finds in food prepared with love and fun.

              I'd crawl six miles on my eyes for the off-menu pork shank special at Enrique's in Long Beach (PCH at Loynes). You can get the standard combinaciones mexicanas that you find everywhere else, but Enrique Pérez's salads, appetizers and platos fuertes reflect the cocina jalisqueña of his native Guadalajara; indigenous and colonial influences, nothing precious, but everything in proper balance, fresh and original without being innovative for innovation's sake and still familiar. And even given a glowing write-up in the LA Times, it's still mostly locals driving over from Belmont Shore, Belmont Heights, Los Altos, Eldorado Park, the Rancho and the Plaza neighborhoods of Long Beach. (OT: Has anyone eaten yet at Qué Pasta, Enrique and Michelle's little fast Italian spin-off?)

              For fast-food, no-frills Mexican, I'm personally a sucker for Baja Sonora (one is by Long Beach Airport, the other is up on Atlantic in Bixby Knolls). The owners are mensches-- really fun people-- and the grub is comfort food in the best sense. Filling, tasty, plentiful. And I also have a soft spot in my heart (stomach?) for Super Mex in Belmont Shore. And now they're coming to the Plaza (the Stater Bros. mini-mall at the corner of Spring and Palo Verde)!! I imagine the menu would cause mass suicides at the Cordon Bleu-- but in a pinch, it's wonderful alcohol-absorbing Mexican.

              Since most people won't be caught dead traveling to (eeewwww) Long Beach to eat, I will assert that La Guelaguetza, Lares, La Serenata de Garibaldi-- hell, even Border Grill-- give me a better Mexican meal that Rick Bayless' Chicago offerings. I give him huge points for trying to bring authentic Mexican to the Midwest, and the restaurants LOOK the part. But the food was absolutely missing that magical something-- that chispa-- that marks truly great food. Maybe my palate is not refined enough (some have accused me of that). Maybe his food is on a higher plane than I can detect. But even bringing him in as a consultant on a Mexican restaurant in LA is like carrying coals to Newcastle. Like there are no Mexicans in LA with restaurant experience...?

              1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                I have been to Enrique's and always have the pork shank, but Rick Bayless restaurants offer you the whole package. Great food, good service and festive place.

              2. re: mrsjoujou

                I'll second rjw_lgb_ca, what SoCal needs is for some of the thousands of Mexican-Americans running restaurants to rediscover their heritage and read some Diana Kennedy and Patricia Quintana cookbooks!
                IMO +90% of the existing 'Mexican' restos are cookie cutter and overly Americanized.
                The owners of RED O sound like typical risk averse business folk who will only meet existing expectations of some target unadventurous demographic. Hopefully 'light, California' will emerge as vegetable intensive guisos and not Gordon Ramsay inspired micro plates.

            2. I think NRN is a little off in their description. This is not a Rick Bayless restaurant, he is consulting on someone else's place. Here is his tweet from January 30th on the subject of the Red O:

              From @Rick_Bayless:
              I am consulting on a restaurant, but i dont own it RT @Susie_LA @Rick_Bayless Is it true you are opening restaurant in Los Angeles?