It’s been 4 years since Rick Bayless, the Chicago-based American chef who specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine with modern interpretations, opened his restaurant Red O on Melrose Avenue in LA. Since then he has opened a second location in Newport Beach, making two locations where you can experience sophisticated Mexican cuisine.
While the menu is seasonal and changes regularly, for their 4 year anniversary, most of the menu was redone. Overseen by Executive Corporate Chef Keith Stich, and in conjunction with Rick Bayless, this is the first major change in 4 years so we went in to check it out!
The cocktails have been updated as well by Director of Wine and Spirits Dan OIiver so we began with cocktails, of course!
Alacran Margarita (Sauza Hornitos Reposado, JDK & Sons O3 Orange Liqueur, VeeV Açaí Spirit, house made Limonada & Serrano Chile syrup) – if you like a spicy drink, this is the one for you.
Maria Fresca (Mina Real Reposado Mezcal, fresh squeezed lime juice, organic agave syrup, muddled fresh cherry tomatoes & cucumbers. Served on the rocks) – get all of your vegetables and nutrients in this somewhat edible drink!
Casa Blanca Margarita (Casamigos Silver Tequila, signature clarified lime juice, Stirrings all natural triple sec) – looks are deceiving as this drink looks like a martini but tastes like a margarita.
We ordered some appetizers to enjoy with our cocktails.
Classic Guacamole (Chunky avocado, tomatoes, onions, fresh lime juice, cilantro & serrano chiles). This is not a new item on the menu but you can’t miss one of Rick Bayless’ guacamole! In addition to the classic one, there are seasonal guacamole flavors such as pomegranate-walnut and yuzu.
Maine Lobster Tostaditas (Maine lobster, grilled nopales and corn salsa, queso fresco, poblano-pea puree, serrano crema) – bite size and full of fresh flavor
Tasting of Ceviches – Under the ceviche menu, if you can’t chose which one, do what we did – a sampler! The tasting includes four of the six ceviche options, including the newest addition to the menu – Loch Etive Steelhead Ceviche.
- Classic Albacore Ceviche (Lime-marinated, tomatoes, manzanilla olives, cilantro & serrano chile served with plantain tostaditas)
- Yucatecan Shrimp & Calamari Ceviche (Steamed Mexican white shrimp & calamari, orange, lime, habanero, avocado, jícama cilantro)
- Loch Etive Steelhead Ceviche (Pickled red onion, habanero chile, lime crema)
- Tropical Tuna Cocktail (Papaya, mango & citrus-avocado tomatillo)
We also did a tasting from the Sopes section of the menu. More bite sized tastiness that ranged from spicy (short ribs) to sweet (plantains)
- Beef Short Rib Sopes (Certified Angus Beef short rib, roasted tomato-green chile sauce, queso añejo)
- Pork Belly Sopes (Braised Compart Farms pork belly, black beans, salsa negra, cilantro, sesame seeds)
- Sweet Plantain Sopes (Thick cream & queso añejo)
To pair with our ceviche and sopas, we decided to switch to wine. The wines and cocktails at Red O have been created to pair with Mexican cuisine and the knowledgeable staff is there to help you make the best choices for your dishes. Sommelier and General Manager Adrian Migliore selected white and red wine to pair with our courses – Albarino for the ceviche and fish dishes, Rioja for the sopes and a Malbec for the ribeye steak.
Next up……we moved to the main dishes (larger plates). We ordered the slow cooked 12 oz Wood Grilled Prime Ribeye (Adobo marinated prime ribeye, oven roasted Weiser Farms pee wee potatoes, grilled asparagus) and the Maine Lobster Tail (Garlic marinated Maine lobster tail, cilantro-fennel rice, charred Mexican knob onions, slow roasted baby fennel, Tajin butter), making a “surf and turf” plate.
The Alaskan Halibut (Grilled Alaskan Halibut, white bean puree, yellow corn esquites, guajillo chimichurri) was meaty and tender and one of my favorite dishes of the night.
We were full but we mustered the energy to try the desserts. Not too sweet and with light flavors, they were perfect to end the meal.
Flan de Mandarina (Tangerine flan, Mexican chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, fresh tangerines, Mexican chocolate ice cream)
Red O Restaurant
8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046