Monday, April 25, 2011

Douchebag Central: Red O

The douchebaggery at Red O starts before you even go inside the restaurant. A bouncer guards the door and won't let you in unless you have a reservation. What?
Glad the Oros had made a reservation, so we could gain that vaunted admission. But for what? We waited for another 40 minutes amidst annoying stereotypical Hollywood types (you know, the kinds of people that the rest of the country thinks we're all like). Ugh.

Rick Bayless, have you actually been to your restaurant? I don't think your kind, easy-going self would like this nonsense. I think you should pay a visit and fix this ridiculousness. You shouldn't have to wait 40 minutes for your reserved table. That's not how restaurants work, Mr. Bayless.

To its credit, the food at Red O is not bad, notwithstanding the general lambasting by the Los Angeles food blogosphere. It's not Babita, Chichen Itza, Guelaguetza, or La Casita Mexicana. You shouldn't expect it to be. Apples and oranges.

With that mindset, you won't be terribly disappointed with your meal. You know what you're getting into, people. In any event, at least the service at Red O is excellent.

That is, after you finally get seated.

Guacamole and chips ($9).
When you pay $9, you think, "Man, this better be the best fucking guac I've ever had." It wasn't, but I can't deny that it was pretty good. Score one for Red O.

Slow-cooked Sonoma duck taquitos, tomato-arbol chile sauce, tiny local greens ($12).
Nice crunch. Nice juicy filling. Sauce was a tad bland, but this was still enjoyable.

Queso fundido with homemade chorizo and roasted poblano chiles ($13).
Very good. It's hot cheese with sausage. This is hard to mess up.

Savory beef short rib tamale, smoky chipotle chiles ($13).
Masa was lovely and moist, but there should've been more meat. Sauce was also bland.

Crab and shrimp enchiladas suizas, creamy roasted tomatillo sauce, fresh-made corn tortillas, melted Sonoma Jack, black beans, ensaladita ($22).
Quite a respectable version, but I thought this could use a bit more punch, too.

Camarones al mojo de ajo -- wood-grilled Mazatlan Blue shrimp with slow-cooked garlic in olive oil, Bloomsdale spinach, Veracruz-style white rice with sweet plantains ($25).
Probably the best dish of the night. It had the bold, strong flavors that were lacking in the previous dishes.

Tinga poblana -- braised Gleason Ranch pork shoulder and belly, homemade chorizo, roasted tomatoes, smoked chipotle, Yukon gold potatoes, avocado, queso fresco ($27).
Pork is always a winner. This was no exception. Of course, I thought it should be spicier. Sense a pattern here?

Seasonal sorbets with cookies ($10).
Absolutely delightful. After the shrimp, this was my second-favorite item of the night.

Veracruz-style buñuelos, salted caramel ice cream, warm Kahlua chocolate sauce ($12).
Fried dough should be inherently awesome. These were just not nearly as good as they should've been.

Mr. Monkey says that my opinion of this meal was largely colored by my irritation by the bouncer, 40-minute wait with a reservation, and the other clientele. Even so, that's enough for me not to return.

If I were Rick Bayless, I would be a bit embarrassed by Red O.


  1. 40 minute wait for a reservation and they messed up fried dough? Bad form.

    Those sorbet thingies look adorable though! iro

  2. You LA people! :P

    I went to Frontera Grill on my trip to was good, but let's just say I won't be going back.

  3. Ahhh so this is the LA all us midwesterners think of. A bouncer for a restaurant? This sounds like douchebag central.

  4. This makes me so sad. You're right, I can't believe Rick Bayless would approve of this nonsense.

  5. I had the same reaction as you -- and I didn't have to wait for my table! The food was fine, but lacked spice/flavor. The best thing we ordered was the lamb cazuelas and the goat cheese cheesecake. I haven't been back and I live half a mile away.

  6. a 40-min wait with reservations is fucking ridiculous. and I'm not even going to comment on the bouncer situation because that's even more fucking ridiculous. boo to rick bayless!

  7. It's not acceptable to have to wait 40 minutes when you had a reservation. Bouncer?? Really? So wrong.

  8. A bouncer and a 40 minute wait? Ick. I agree with you that Rick Bayless needs to get his butt out here and fix that.

  9. yeah, that sounds shitty.

    but i'm not gonna lie - i'd be ALLLLLL over that short rib tamale. damn, that looked good.


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