Red O Redefines LA's Mexican Cuisine
BY SARI ANNE TUSCHMAN
There is a lot to say about Red O, Chicago restaurateur Rick Bayless’ first venture outside his Midwestern home. The Mexican-cuisine aficionado offered his expertise as a consulting chef—developing the menu, training the staff and helping design the kitchen (which is manned by executive chef Michael Brown). “I thought it would be an interesting challenge for my team to learn what it’s like to play in the LA market,” says Bayless, who travels to LA frequently. If you manage to get through the entrance (guarded by a door host who gives the eatery a clublike feel), you’ll be greeted by a spacious open-floor plan, complete with a dining courtyard, sleek décor, dramatic chandeliers and a tequila tunnel—showcasing a vast selection of the libation—that leads from the dining room to a lounge. The Central- and Southern Mexico-influenced menu features small dishes ideal for communal dining—sopes, taquitos, tamales and more—as well as an array of entrées. Choose from one of the classic plates dubbed “Mexico’s Celebrated Seven,” including pescado zarandeado, a striped bass with red chile and three salsas; and tinga poblana, a pork shoulder and belly with chorizo, roasted tomatoes and smoked chipotle. “We didn’t know if LA would welcome our Mexican flavors with open arms,” says Bayless, “but so far we’ve been very, very happy."
PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREW MCCAUGHAN
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.