Red O = Outstanding

Everyone loves Mexican food.  Well, not everyone.  I don't.  I don't dislike it, I just don't crave enchiladas and tacos the way the rest of the world seems to.  I prefer my tacos filled with Korean BBQ or something fusion, in fact ... I prefer the unexpected.  Which is why I may be so fond of Red O.

For me, someone who doesn't line up for refried beans, mushy guacamole and melted cheese-covered everything, I much prefer the simplicity and freshness of authentic regional Mexican cuisine ... especially when it's fused with the lightness of California-style cooking.  Fusion = magic in my world.

As well, being a girl who eats jalapeños out of the jar, I am crazy about spicy cocktails, and Red O has one of my favorites: the La Dama, a mix of Karma tequila, serrano chile, mango grenadine, lime juice, a drizzle of  pomegranate liqueur, and a garnish of fresh pomegranate seeds.  Served in their moody lighting and modern, upscale-yet-organic decor, it's a gorgeous way to start the night.

The menu isn't huge either, another plus.  It's full of favorites and twists, made with the best possible ingredients.  My tops are simple: Tropical Tuna Ceviche, with fresh ahi tuna, papaya, mango & citrus-avocado tomatillo, served with fried plantain chips; Pork Belly Sopes, made with Niman Ranch pork belly, black beans, salsa negra, and sesame; and Fresh Corn & Goat Cheese Tamales, which are, I believe, the best tamales I've ever had. The blend of sweet corn, roasted poblano chilies and tangy goat cheese is unexpected, and as with everything else, vibrant.

And for dessert?  The Cajeta sundae, another surprisingly combination of Mexican goat milk caramel with a buttered pecan and bacon streusel.  That's right, bacon streusel.  It's so delicious it's cruel.

So ... beautiful space, good drinks, smart menu, excellent service (and a very attractive staff, I might add).  What's not to love?


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