Red O - Santa Monica
An authority on Mexican cuisine from many regions as well as the recipient of a number of accolades and awards, Rick Bayless is the quintessential celebrity chef. His incredibly successful Chicago restaurants (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, XOCO), cookbooks, television series "One Plate at a Time" and multiple James Beard awards have made him one of the most popular and most recognized chefs on the planet.
And as a pioneer in supporting sustainable practices, Bayless received the Humanitarian of the Year award in 2007 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for his work with local farmers. His Topolobampo restaurant is the only Mexican restaurant with a Michelin star.
In 2010, Bayless created the Red O brand, a trio of Mexican-inspired steakhouses in Southern California. The first one opened on the trendy Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles and in 2013, the team opened the flagship location in Newport Beach.
It offers a unique combination of prime steaks and seafood using authentic Mexican sauces prepared with ingredients that are primarily sourced from local farms. There's a prix-fixe menu for those who want to experience a nice sampling of several dishes, brunch (Newport Beach location only) and a happy hour menu.
Highlights on the menu included slow-cooked duck leg taquitos, lamb in mole negro and tablita for two. That entails a grilled 32-ounce prime Tomahawk chop, one pound Maine lobster tail, tajin butter, black beans, Mexican red rice, pico de gallo, classic guacamole, flour and fresh white corn tortillas.