The menu at Red O Restaurant in Santa Monica brings the cuisine of Mexico to a new level of sophistication.
We thought it much closer to the cuisine of restaurants in Mexico City while maintaining some of the classic southwestern food Southern Californians know so well.
On our visit first we met with Manager Gavin Palmer who told us something of the history of the Red O Restaurants and how they have evolved including frequent changes to the menu. Then we chatted with Chef Seth Vider who has kitchen experience in several western states before joining Red O.
I told Seth that I had to careful when it came to hot spice so he made some menu suggestions for me that would avoid the heat,.
The 'To Start' menu offered some classics like Guacamole, Quesadilla, Tamales and Taquitos and is specially designed for sharing. My dining partner and I opened with the shrimp and calamari Ceviche which include avocado and jicama. It was excellent with only the slightly hint of spice.
Then we also shared a tasting of scallops which came on a bed of flavorful thin noodles and topped with a avocado-corn salsa.
We stayed with the seafood side of the menu and followed with Maine lobster tail which arrived perfectly cooked to still be moist served on a bed of of cilantro-fennel rice.
We also ordered two of the 'sides to share' which were the Cotija mashed potatoes and fried sweet Plantains.
All this time we admired the decor and ambiance of the restaurant which is divided into several different areas including the glittering bar with its hundreds of unique shaped bottles, in fact much of the restaurant walls also include this striking display.
Service was both friendly and professional and we had admire how the staff handled what was a very full restaurant the night of our visit.
Our dessert, which we also shared, was the chocolate tart with fresh berries, canella whipped cream and a caramel sauce.
Red O Restaurant is open for dinner seven days a week at 1541 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica with valet parking. For more information call 310 806-2243, web www.redorestaurant.com.