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dRed 0 - The "Mr. Chow-is-to-Chinese" Mexican Equivalent

In contrast to the favorable reports I have seen so far, I and two friends had a (nearly) uniformly horrendous experience at Red O last night.

The guac, as others have mentioned, is acidic, and oniony....it is basically fine: but the chips were simply awful little, skinny ones (exactly like what they have at Sharkey's). The guac comes rather tightly compressed, not soft and fluffy, and these anemic chips broke like twigs underfoot when used to scoop it...highly unpleasant.

Most of the other dishes we had ranged from slightly above average [Alaskan Halibut Ceviche], to tasteless [tepid Short Ribs on small flavorless Sopes], to terrible [grossly undercooked and under flavored chicken that we sent back] with a few exceptions:
Goat Cheese and Veggie Tamales - very tasty
Tinga Poblana - really, really yummy.

The drinks were divine and the restaurant/bars shockingly beautiful (except the ugly homage to Beijing’s Birds Nest that one sees from outside).

Service could not have been nicer and could not have been much worse: they brought us first the wrong bottle of wine, and, later, the wrong check (much, much less than we owed...we told them, thank you very much). I don't really care too much about service in a new place so I don't hold this against them -- but the disappointing food I do. This is a city with such amazing Mexican food, do we need a "Mr. Chow-is-to-Chinese" Mexican Equivalent? I don't.

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Red O
8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

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  1. Wow, that's too bad, Ciao Bob. Sorry to hear of the crappy experience, especially about the food.

    Hate to think that just b/c Bayless is not running it, and has probably collected his $$ and left the staff to be on their own, that it would have gone downhill that fast, what about a week?? {{sigh}}

    1. Hi Ciao Bob,

      I respect your opinion a lot, and this has just made my slight curiosity about Red O dwindle to Zero. :(

      Bummer. Thanks for the warning.

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      Red O
      8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

      2 Replies
      1. re: exilekiss

        Thanks, but I would wait for more yeas or nays to come in, with time, EK. It is sooo very new and entitled to a chance at righting the (many) wrongs.
        If you remember Sonora Cafe on La Brea, my sense is that Red O will achieve that level of "quality" and, perhaps, surpass it. But to me it is gussied-up/gringo-ized/over-hyped soul-less Mexican.

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        Red O
        8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

        1. re: exilekiss

          Not mine - I will definitely still be trying it... but maybe give it a few months to iron everything out.

        2. Yikes, well I guess the shortened version of its namesake is apt!

          1. To people who have eaten there, how did you get a reservation? I have been calling for a week now and no answer! It rings once, a message comes on and says do not leave reservation info. I want to go on my birthday, the 14th.

            21 Replies
            1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

              No reservation, walked in early (6:30) and sat at bar communal table. Stayed till 10:30, no pressure to leave at all.

              1. re: Ciao Bob

                Thank you for that. I kept calling today and finally got someone on the phone, it was a chore. They were very nice on the phone, put me on hold and came back a few times and told me they hadn't forgot about me and would be right back.

                bsquared2 - Their website is AWFUL! When it loads completely it covers up the phone number, I had to refresh the page a few times to get the number. No info whatsoever.

                1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                  Yeah, I don't get their non-website at all. It's as if they don't want anyone to know about the restaurant at all. Very very disappointing. I'll save my money and pass.

                  1. re: granadafan

                    if i understand you correctly, you're going to forgo a restaurant because you don't like their website?
                    really?

                    1. re: linus

                      That is the one of the funniest things I have ever heard.

                      Declining to go to a restaurant because of a poorly executed website = Chowhound Credibilty Denied! Ha!

                      1. re: linus

                        Hey, if they can't get their shit together on a website, as in basic information, imagine what the heck is going on in the kitchen.

                        1. re: Phurstluv

                          No proven causation or relation there. To dismiss anything out of hand because of something as superfluous as a website (a new website at that) is about as contrary to the Chowhound credo as it gets. Any resto may turn out to be bad, but plenty of great places blow the marketing portion of their business, while others have a fantastically organized web presence and put out bland, or worse, cuisine. All that matters is the food.

                          1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                            I tend to agree but in this case the correlation is exact...both bite.

                            1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                              All I'm saying is it's not that hard to put out basic information on a website. And you'd think with the amount of $$ they put into the place, they would want a decent, informative website to reflect that. It's just that simple.

                              And most places that "blow the marketing portion of their business" usually don't stay in business very long.

                            2. re: Phurstluv

                              call me wacky, call me irresponsible, but i'd prefer they focus on the kitchen than on the website.
                              did lutece ever have a website? how 'bout that taco joint with all the guisados for tacos in mexico city? did they have video?
                              gosh, how was the design and java capability on the ginza sushiko site?

                              1. re: linus

                                I agree. They should focus on the food, rather than the marketing concept or website. But apparently, according to Ciao Bob and fooddude37, they don't.

                                1. re: Phurstluv

                                  I am speaking in the general case, not this soecific instance in which some people are of the opinion that both food and web marketing are bad. Still only exhibits correlation, not causation. Ultimately the food is what counts, nothing else to me. If they have poor marketing perhaps they suffer an early demise, but still doesn't change the food, only my access to it.

                                  1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                                    Right, and my point is that there is a correlation in that if they have a hard time figuring out something simple (designing or hiring someone to design a website with basic information), how can you imagine that they will excel at something much more complicated, as in exceptional execution of the concept of running a high-end kitchen and serving excellent food.......I am not implying one is causing the other. Yes, ultimately it is the food that counts, and they apparently don't get that right either.

                                    1. re: Phurstluv

                                      It's not even a correlation. When two things exist at one time, in one instance, it is called a "coincidence." A correlation is only shown after repeated instances in which two conditions are found to exist together.

                                      But it looks like the food at Red O sucks . . . which sucks. But if the food was good then a poor website would matter little.

                                      For what it's worth, the website is a basic shell (kind of a cool one, I think) that will be fleshed out later, presumably. And the phone number issue seems to be solved as it looked great in my browser and was not obscured.

                                      1. re: cacio e pepe

                                        And another "marketing tool" that you would think indicates possible restaurant competence; a name that can be seen from the street, isn't a good predictor of food brilliance either. Case in point - Animal. No name, but some of the best food in LA. So much for making a decision to avoid a place based on something like a web site.

                                      2. re: Phurstluv

                                        How do you know the fault is on their end, and not on the web designer's? And if you fault someone at the restaurant simply for hiring the web designer, how does that have any bearing on the kitchen's recent decline? The mere existence of two symptoms (good food gone bad, and bad website) at the same restaurant doesn't prove that the two share the same root cause. Nor is fault for any and every issue equally distributed among everyone at the restaurant (your nebulous "they").

                                        1. re: mrhooks

                                          Obviously, I don't know whose fault it is, only that running a restaurant is a business. And if you expect to run a successful business, one would hope the business manager of the restaurant has a clue as to whether the website is working well or not.

                                          To clarify for you, "they" are those that are running this restaurant.

                                          1. re: Phurstluv

                                            I don't want to pile on here, as I suspect that your comment was much more innocent than it appeared.

                                            However, what is lost in this whole issue is that the website does function. It just doesn't do much as of right now. The restaurant is not fully wired to take Open Table reservations, the menu might not be fully ironed out in the first few weeks so the forthcoming menu link is not up, and the photo gallery probably isn't up because the photos would look better with dinners in them.

                                            There really is nothing wrong with the site. Much ado about nothing.

                                2. re: Phurstluv

                                  Maybe they are focusing on the food???

                                  1. re: WildSwede

                                    Apparently not.

                                    Hey whatever about the stupid website, I'm over it. It just seems that with all the hype made over the place, you'd think they'd have that shit together, before they open and get all full of themselves.

                      2. When you bring up "Mr. Chow", that brings my interest to 0 (that's zero, not "O"). I do think it is weird that they have a link for reservations but you can't make reservations. They actually have the worst website of any major restaurant I can think of.

                        I will wait to hear more feedback. Or maybe try it for lunch when the start serving.