Rick Bayless' Red O
Has anyone heard anything about this restaurant? I see on their site that they are opening tonight. Is anyone going, or has anyone been to a soft opening?
Where do I start - we were so hopeful to have an upscale authentic and interesting Mexican place on the West Side.
After running the gaunlet of pretention of the 2 door men out in parking area, three hostesses who couldn't figure out what table number was located on the floor, a waitress who took 15 minutes to appear while we got a lecture from another section waiter about how it wasn't his section but would take our order anyway, we spent $70 a head for two rounds of margaritas (served in pretentious coctail shakers that dribbled and leaked all over the table in little martini glasses), three tiny appetizers (4 tiny 50 cent piece sized sopes with a spoonful of bland topping/shredded short rib meat), 4 tiny duck tacquitos that had the most interesting flavors of anything we tried, one corn/cheese tamale (this was the star - tender masa, good filling but small), one modest-sized casuelzas dish of lamb in bland chile colorado with 4 small thin and unremarkable flour tortillas, and tiny plate of gritty textured bunuellos and a dollop of ice cream for dessert, we departed. While we were eating tiny mouthfuls of food, the hostesses were patrolling the dining room checking to see how far along each table was with meals so they could predict when the next table would be ready to flip.
The verdict - bland colorless, mostly white and metal toned dining room is reminiscent of Polanco hot spots in D.F. in the 1990's is architecturally interesting and build/decorated with quality furnishings but chopped up and noisy, the tiny plates had not a colorful garnish, not a slice of lime, not a spring of cilantro to add color or much needed flavor for what might pass for Mexican in the midwest but in Los Angeles that is filled with so many more authentic options, no way Ricardo.
The artistically designed plates and cutlery are stylish but not functional as the knives and forks slither off the plates onto the table because they are out of balance. The waiter went on about avocados flown in from Mexico...since the tables are packed tightly the couple at the table to our immediate right ordered it and pronounced it "no big deal" for a small plate of guac and chips for $9. The pretention continued with a ladies room attendant with a large basket of suggestive dollar bill tips for a two stall bathroom - please! The private dining area entered through a glass wall display of tequilla bottles was cozier but occupied by a private party so we were shooed away.
Red O is dishing up Gringo Mexican not gourmet Mexican- lots of style but little substance or authentic flavors. Having made at least 14 trips to many regions of Mexico I would have rather invested the $140 we spent in an airline ticket to go get a good authentic meal or taken a larger group of hungry friends out to a nearby spot with better food options. If you must go to say you've seen it, been there and done that, hit the bar for drinks and a tamale while you run the gaunlete of "of the moment pretty people" who will no doubt move onto the next hot spot down the road fairly soon.
Better choices nearby include Mexico Barra y Cantina on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood, Loteria Grill on Hollywood Blvd, or the Loteria at the Farmers Market.
6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036
8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
I don't get why Loteria gets so much love around here. It is the definition of bland Mexican food. I've been to the FM location 2-3 times and the Hollywood location twice and have never been impressed. I think I've had better Mexican food at El Torito. They do have some interesting aguas frescas. Their salsas aren't bad either but almost always underseasoned. Red O, while not stellar, at least has some stand-outs, like the ones discussed in another thread. And you know what? I think their guacamole is really good. I can't remember a time I had a memorable guac and theirs was memorable. I completely agree about the ladies' room attendant though. But I never feel pressured to tip a bathroom attendant - I think it's an obsolete breed, esp in LA. Besides, I usually don't even carry my purse into the restroom. And funny you should mention the acoustics, because I said to my husband that even though it's so open, we could carry on a conversation without shouting. We were seated in the banquette section against the back wall, which is slightly more insulated, I suppose.
8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Initially I was excited that L.A. has a Bayless restaurant, until I figured out it was another pompous L.A. venue that he just served as a consultant for. I cancelled my reservation.
It sucked! Don't waste your time or money. Rude staff, Foo Foo food with Foo Foo prices.
I won't go back!
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