Red O, West Hollywood’s high-falutin’ Mexican for fresas, doesn’t exactly embody L.A. street cred, as we’re yet to see a lonchera armed with a clipboard-strapped bouncer as the restaurant had on duty in its opening months (a cook with samurai skills when it comes to spit-roasted pork is a different story). But street food is the go-to ploy these days when you’re hoping to entice warm bodies and this Bayless-approved dining room knows that, despite its marked-up sopes and sixteen-dollar aguachile. Starting next Wednesday, May 23, Red O will commit deeper to its “street food social hour” that marked its recent Cinco de Mayo celebration. What will the restaurant’s liberal interpretation of street food include?
From 4:00 to 6:00 P.M. every Tuesday through Saturday, the restaurant will serve discounted dishes on its patio and and in its tequila lounge that don’t exactly speak to the low, low prices suggested by the term “street,” maybe save for the two-dollar oysters served with tomatillo-habanero mioneta and chipotle-garlic salsa. Dishes include a guacamole made with sundried tomato and onion for six bucks, plus a twelve-dollar trio of smoked chicken taquitos, quesadillas, and plantain sopes that is two-thirds the same as “The Old School Frontera Trio” offered at Bayless’ Chicago restaurant, but in L.A. is dubbed the “street food trio” sans ceviche, a local street food fundamental.
A twelve-dollar tostada trio, on the other hand, sounds like it more successfully melds a staple of the street with the restaurant’s tony take on Mex, with Alaskan salmon sashimi and heirloom tomato escabeche gracing two tostadas plus a Mazatlan blue shrimp on a tiny tortilla made of jicama that we can confirm is really good.
If there’s one upside to not adhering to street codes, Red O has booze for a budget. During the new happy hour, margaritas and cocktails will be priced at just eight dollars, with wine costing seven and beer just five. Still, the combined price of a trio at twelve and a drink at five, with tax and tip, puts you at $20, roughly the price to eat two tacos a night at Tacos Leo for the entire work week, sans a buzz. The choice is your’s.