The Other Critics

Virbila and L.A. Mag Both Love Red O, Hate The Bouncer

Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

Though it has “all the trappings of a trendy restaurant” and the “snooty” reservations run-around gives her nightmares of “Mozza all over again,” S. Irene Virbila is willing to suffer such indignities for the excellent food at Red O. She calls out the owners for possibly creating a “disconnect between the quality of the food and some of the staff” and deems Rick Bayless “geeky,” before placating that he’s “probably more faithful to the cuisines of Mexico than many Mexican cooks in this country.” Much as the menu “seems to go on and on,” Sherry goes loco for Red O, and assures the fever will die down. Three stars! [L.A. Times]

Jonathan Gold continues a summer of noodling around town, with a trip to Vietnamese Quan Mien Trung in Rosemead, “more or less an embassy for the cooking of Central Vietnam” where banh beo chen comes big and bun bo dac biet mien trung “will satisfy all but the most atavistic urges,” no less when the chef throws you some pig’s blood. And that’s if he likes you. [L.A. Weekly]

Los Angeles magazine, who had the untimely misfortune to mingle the words “Shelly Cooper” and “Flight” in a story on her mac and cheese, also checks out Red O. Like Virbila, it hates the “clipboard-gripping bouncer” and finds The Ricker’s presence here even when he’s AWOL. How many times does Red O need to hear that the bouncer blows before it moves him to the back of the house? [Los Angeles magazine]

Having trouble finding a quality margarita and great Mexican food in the same spot? After the requisite Border Grill/Guelaguetza plugs and a nameless slam on some Silver Lake lingerer, Mr. Gold points you to Rivera, which might be unrivaled in “exploring the intersections between liquor and Mexican food.” [L.A. Weekly]

Studio City’s 8/12 Taverna is killing it with “deliciously rebellious food,” according to Jessica Gelt, who swoons for Italian food with a splash of imaginative gastro-pubbery, along with daily specials, classics, and for some reason, the concept of foie gras on an Angus burger. [L.A. Times]

Swift on the heels of Sam Sifton, Gold returns to LudoBites. Feel like a redundant review? He argues “you will taste things you have never encountered before, even if you have been to all the other incarnations.” Even so, the caramel souffle remains the same. [L.A. Weekly]

Merrill Shindler is braver than we are, opting to dine at a place called EATalian. He finds it “a real treat,” with pizza bearing a “razor-thin, crackeresque crust found at the cafes that line the streets of Italy,” not like Mozza’s “pleasantly lumpy” version. [Daily Breeze]

Virbila and L.A. Mag Both Love Red O, Hate The Bouncer