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Los Angeles’ RED O Restaurant Mexican Cuisine by Rick Bayless Coming to Fashion Island

The Irvine Company and RED O Restaurant Mexican Cuisine by Rick Bayless today announced that the acclaimed Mexican restaurant will open its first Orange County location in summer 2013 at Fashion Island, the center for shopping, dining and entertainment in Newport Beach.

RED O, known for its menu of authentic regional Mexican and lighter California-style dishes created by renowned Chef Rick Bayless, will feature menu items exclusive to Orange County and plans to open on Fashion Island’s south side.

The restaurant, which received a coveted three-star review from the Los Angeles Times and was named one of America’s “Best New Restaurants” with “Best Design” by Esquire magazine in 2010, will serve dinner daily, weekday lunch, weekend brunch and its Street Food Social Hour. 

Since opening in May 2010, RED O on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood has been a favorite among locals and visitors alike with modern Mexican fare, bold decor, a luxurious resort setting and celebrity clientele. RED O’s cuisine is based on organic, fresh ingredients and a balance of flavors from central and southern Mexico as well as California.

RED O’s menu is designed to appeal to Southern California’s diverse clientele. In Los Angeles, the menu features a selection of small plates ideal for sharing, and entrees featuring Chef Bayless’ take on iconic dishes. Small plates include the critically acclaimed Pork Belly Sopes made with Niman Ranch Pork Belly, Black Beans, Salsa Negra, and Sesame; award-winning ceviche, such as Ceviche Fronterizo from Bayless’ Chicago restaurant, Topolobampo, made with Lime Marinated Albacore, Tomatoes, Manzanilla Olives, Cilantro, and Serrano Chile served on Crispy Tostaditas; and crowd-favorite Fresh Corn and Goat Cheese Tamales steamed in Corn Husks with Roasted Poblano Chiles.

Larger plates include Bayless’ “Mexican Classics” as the centerpiece of the menu. Highlights include Cochinita Pibil made with Niman Ranch Suckling Pig, Achiote-marinated and slow cooked in Banana Leaves, served with Black Beans, Pickled Red Onions, and Roasted Habanero Salsa; Pollo en Mole with Grilled Mary’s Young Chicken, Bayless’ prized Homemade Mole Poblano, Black Beans and Watercress Salad; and Pescado al Pasilla Oaxaqueño featuring Northern Alaskan Halibut with Smoky Oaxacan Pasilla Chile Sauce, Crispy Potato Cakes, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Mescal-Cured Tomatillo and Watermelon Radish Salad. 

 Desserts are built around American classics with a contemporary Mexican touch. Options include Creamy Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Caramel Corn and Mexican “Root Beer” Sauce; and Strawberry-Mango Shortcake made with warm Cream Biscuit with Lime-Infused Mango and Local Strawberries, Whipped Crema and Strawberry Sorbet.

“RED O has brought bold flavors of Mexico to Southern California and been widely embraced in a market known for great Mexican food,” Chef Bayless said. “Now we are bringing the evolution of Mexican food to the sophisticated palate of Newport Beach and Fashion Island.”

Chef Bayless, winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” in 2009, is known for changing the image of Mexican food in America. Many know him from his highly rated PBS series “Mexico — One Plate at a Time” and from his eight cookbooks. In 1987, Bayless founded Chicago’s sophisticated Topolobampo and the neighboring casual Frontera Grill, following those with Xoco in 2009.

Fashion Island will be RED O’s second location. 

“We took our time to find just the right location for our second restaurant,” said cofounders Rick Teasta and Mike Dobson. “With an unparalleled premier coastal location and guests who appreciate an approachable, high energy, upscale dining experience, Fashion Island is the perfect choice.”

At Fashion Island, RED O will open in a unique 7,000-square-foot free standing restaurant building with a 1,500-square-foot dining patio. The addition of RED O is part of a strategic investment by the Irvine Company in Fashion Island’s restaurant business to further solidify the center as a premier upscale dining destination in Southern California.

“RED O brings to Fashion Island the kind of dining experience you would find on the major avenues of Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco,” said Dan Sheridan, President of Irvine Company Retail Properties. “The restaurant’s inspired cuisine, stylish presentation and inviting atmosphere will continue to transform Fashion Island as a premier destination for singular culinary experiences.”

RED O will be part of a restaurant corner of unique concepts on the south side of Fashion Island, joining renowned Mediterranean restaurant FIG & OLIVE ― another Orange County exclusive that opens in spring 2013. With restaurants in New York and West Hollywood, FIG & OLIVE will introduce a menu of refined elegance with classic flavors and the highest quality of ingredients inspired by the coastal regions of the Mediterranean. 

The new restaurants are part of an ongoing reinvestment in Fashion Island, which has seen more than 40 new stores and restaurants open since early 2010. The shopping center also is adding 22,000 square feet of space with more restaurants and stores coming in the next 18 months.  

New stores and restaurants include Newport Beach’s first Whole Foods Market, the first West Coast store by revolutionary New York lifestyle brand C. Wonder, the state-of-the-art, seven-screen Island Cinema theater complex, and, coming in early 2013, Lark Creek Newport Beach, the first Orange County restaurant by Lark Creek Restaurant Group of San Francisco. 

About the Irvine Company

Founded in 1864, the Irvine Company is an internationally renowned real estate development company known for its award-winning master-planned communities, its vast portfolio of high-quality investment properties, and its leadership in conservation and natural resource management. The growing real estate portfolio encompasses office, apartment, retail and resort holdings located throughout California’s premier markets, including assets in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties, and holdings in Northern California. As a steward of some of America’s most beautiful and scientifically important open space and parklands, the company has donated to Orange County more than half of the historic 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch in Orange County — 50,000 acres — to permanently preserve these lands. The U.S. Department of Interior and the State of California have designated these parklands as “Natural Landmarks,” one of the most prestigious land preservation designations. The privately held, diversified company traces its roots to the 1860s with the formation of The Irvine Ranch® from Mexican and Spanish land grants.

About RED O Restaurant

In 2013, the acclaimed RED O Restaurant with Mexican Cuisine by Rick Bayless will open in Orange County at Newport Beach’s Fashion Island. The expansive restaurant, complete with indoor and outdoor seating, will be located on the South side of the Center in a new standalone structure. Rick Bayless is best known for his highly rated PBS series, “Mexico — One Plate at a Time,” and from his eight cookbooks. In August 2009, he was crowned the winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” beating 23 other world-renowned chefs. RED O’s Orange County menu will feature authentic Mexican and lighter “California-style” dishes inspired from regions throughout Mexico. At RED O, patrons will also enjoy an extensive selection of tequilas, as well as cocktails, alongside wines and imported craft beers. For more information on the restaurant please visit www.redorestaurant.com.