No Big Deal
We were really looking forward to experiencing this restaurant. We went this evening.
Our assessment: Blah to blah-minus.
The first thing we noticed is the transparent effort to appear trendy and exclusive. Unbelievably, they have a doorman standing outside the restaurant for the apparent purpose of making sure that persons actually have a reservation. It's like having a bouncer-doorman at an exclusive club. The pretense is off-putting and, when we experienced the food, the pretense appeared more like a joke. Snooty might work if the food were really great; it's a travesty when the food doesn't measure up. Here, the food doesn't measure up.
The food here is a serious disappointment. There were four of us and each had a different dish, with all of us sharing tastes. As for me, the only dish that was really delicious was the pork belly appetizer. After that, everything went downhill.
The biggest problem is that there was nothing subtle about the food. It was greasy and overly spiced. Even if I had unlimited free meals, I wouldn't think of returning, nor would anyone else in our party.
I can think of 10-15 Los Angeles Mexican restaurants that have much better (and subtler) food than Red O, at a tenth of the price. But, how foolish of me to think that a Chicago chef could come to Los Angeles, add his star name to a restaurant and to expect that he would really know how to prepare Mexican food. This stuff that passes as Mexican food might sell well in Chicago, but not here.
Red O furnishes an all star-name, with a nice atmosphere, attracting a moderately glitzy crowd, but with mediocre food.
The service, however, was quite good.
It would amaze me if this restaurant were still here a year from now. It serves no useful purpose.
8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Amongst the dishes we had were the following:
**Guacamole: It was ok.
**Tamales: Dry, tastless, awful---bordering on the inedible.
**Quesos Fundidos: A pile of overly-spicy, cheesy goo. With great regret, I'm still tasting this slop almost 24 hours after I ate it, and I never have that problem. There is not an ounce of imagination in this dish.
**Enchiladas Suizas: Ok, but nothing to rave about.
**Tacos al Carbon: Ok, but, again, nothing that would bring me back.
**Polo en Mole: The same.
The deserts were ok as well.
As I said, there is nothing about this restaurant that would even begin to warrant the pretention of exclusivity that the two outer doormen are apparently designed to achieve. Either Rick Bayless is not the chef his reputation merits; or, he has nothing to do with this restaurant other than lending his name; or, the execution of his recipes is substandard. No matter how viewed, his reputation is not served by this establishment.