143 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Tel: (949) 718-0300
Rick Bayless, the celebrity chef and host of the emmy-nominated show "Mexico: One Plate At A Time", has opened his newest restaurant at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. This is Red O's second location, the first being in Los Angeles. More locations will hopefully be opening soon. Red O restaurant features a dramatic interior paired with high-end Mexican food. I was recently invited down to try some of their culinary delights.
We started our meal off with an Amuse-Bouche of Dungeness Crab Tostaditas. A deep-fried plantain chip was topped with sweet dungeness crab meat, grilled pineapple and tomatillo-avocado salsa. It was absolutely amazing, and probably my favorite part of the meal.
Next, up we tried the Corn & Goat Cheese Tamales and a Tasting of Guacamole that came with four different kinds of guacamole and fried plantain chips. The tamales were light, fluffy and slightly sweet. The goat cheese added a nice creamy, rich flavor that complemented the masa perfectly. I'm thinking of asking my mother-in-law to make some goat cheese tamales for Christmas this year... The guacamole sampler came with Classic, Pomegranate-Walnut, Macha and Yuzu guacamoles. Of the four, I believe that Yuzu was my favorite. The guacamole was spiked with Japanese yuzu and shishito peppers.
For my entree, I selected the Lamb Mole Negro. Four lamb chops arrived on the plate in a pool of black mole sauce. There seemed to be some consistency issues with the sizing of the lamb chops as some of the plates seemed to be twice as big as others. Each plate came with four lamb chops, but some chops were huge compared to some of the others. The lamb itself was cooked perfectly and was very tender. The mole sauce added a smoky flavor with the slightest hint of sweetness. A fantastic dish.
To finish off the meal, we were served Tres Leches cake. Tres Leches is usually made by soaking a sponge cake in three different milks, evaporated, condensed and regular milk or cream. Red O uses pound cake instead of sponge cake and opts to use non-fat milk instead of cream. The result is a cake that is a little denser than most, and not quite as rich. The cake was topped with toasted meringue and spicy pears.
Overall, Red O is a very good option if you are looking for upscale Mexican food. The prices here will likely make it a "special occasion" restaurant for most. Dinner entrees range from $15-$56. If you're looking to dine there on a budget, try going for lunch when their prices are a little lower.