Chicago has brought the world so many amazing things, from the Blues Brothers and da Bulls, to other stuff that wasn't originally on Saturday Night Live. Now Chicago's bringing LA... Mexican food, via Red O.
Taking reservations starting Tues and opening soon thereafter, Red O's a glossed-up Mexicanery w/ monster chandeliers, a wood-and-bronze communal table, and a 25-foot fireplace, all from ultra-lauded chef Rick Bayless, a master of South-of-the-Border cookery who hails from Chi-town, where every restaurant but his is a sports bar with fried-cheese-covered flatscreens. Food's all ultra-fresh gourmet takes on classic Mexicanness, split into categories, like "Tacos El Carbon" (w/ steak/chicken/catfish and topped w/ roasted poblano rojas and grilled knob onions), "Cazuelas" (hot pots stuffed w/ your choice of Mazatlan blue shrimp w/ roasted tomatoes & capers, beef & pork meatballs w/ smokey chipotle-tomato sauce, and lamb in chile Colorado), and the regional-specialty "Mexico's Celebrated Seven," which, surprisingly, are dishes like seafood broth w/ chipotle, epazote, shrimp, scallops, & mussels, and not Yul Brynner and his buddies, though they were pretty magnificent. They've also got a schload of small-plates, including corn bites topped w/ short ribs/pork belly/plantains; taquitos w/ slow-cooked duck & chile arbol sauce; and tamales stuffed w/ goat cheese and poblano chiles wrapped in corn husks, since rapping in corn husk is pretty hard to find, now that Bayless is so far from Iowa.
The cocktail menu's still on its way, but needless to say they've got a full bar, as well as a dessert menu w/ goat cheese cheesecake with caramel corn and a root beer sauce, and a flan w/ chocolate, but no mango, since only Chris Kattan can bring the world that amazing thing.