We heard first-hand that Rick Bayless’ Red O opened last week for at least one “friends and family” preview dinner, but the rest of us will get a chance to try the Midwestern Mex-master general’s new menu on Wednesday, May 26th, when Red O officially opens for dinner service. According to a press release, the Melrose restaurant seeks to blend Mexican cuisine (this is not Tex-Mex) with lighter Cali-style dishes. As for the space, we’re being promised handmade leather swings for sipping cocktails, a glass tequila tunnel to store a high-end collection of bottles that leads to a tequila tasting lounge, and a dining courtyard buttressed by two fourteen-foot chandeliers. So what’s Bayless bringing to the table?
A full menu hasn’t been released yet, but we’re teased with dishes like chipotle albondigas made from pork and beef, a chilpachole broth bobbing with shrimp, scallops, mussels, chayote, and potatoes, and pork belly sopes with salsa negra. For dessert, a goat cheese cheesecake with caramel corn and Mexican “root beer” sauce will be a signature.
Will Bayless be able to cut it west of the Chicago frontera? So far, a friend who attended last week’s preview tells us that if anything is going to impress Angelenos here, it will be Bayless’ famous moles, which were apparently up-to-snuff at the sneak peak. The other dishes, we hear, could use some tweaking and time to be better suited to local tastes. But we’ll all have a chance to judge for ourselves starting next Wednesday, May 26th at 5:00 P.M. Reservations are strongly recommended if you’re to be the first on your block to eat at Red O. Call 323-655-5009 to secure your’s.