"Red O, it is clear, is basically a consulting gig for Bayless," Jonathan Gold establishes from the get-go about a superstar chef that he credits as a real talent. He adds "Los Angeles is home to more Mexicans than greater Guadalajara, and we embrace the astronomical variety of Mexican cooking as our own." So basically, the Bayless battalion needs to forgive the great number of local foodies who turn up their noses at this flashy spot; it's in our nature and the game is still the game. But while Gold returns to find the atmosphere "friendlier [and] more solicitous" and likes many of the ingredients and even loves a few of the dishes, he's still underwhelmed by a lack of cohesion and spark here, as evidenced by the tamales and smoked salmon, and even those sopes most people are cheering. And in the end?
Still, Gold allows that "it resembles high-end Mexico City restaurant food more than [blogger Bill] Esparza will ever let on, but with a lot less excitement than you'll find in the best local kitchens." The critic is certainly not attacking Bayless, as has been perceived by some, but is simply serving Los Angeles and its great mom and pop restaurants like he's always done. Why spend more money, only to receive less soul?
Red O: Back to Bayless [L.A. Weekly]