Two-year-old Red O, the trendy indoor-outdoor Mexican restaurant whose kitchen is overseen by Chicago über-chef Rick Bayless, has just offset its existing menu of pork belly sopes and goat cheese tamales with a slew of new raw bar dishes. There are oysters with tomatillo-habanero minoneta, as well as dramatic double-decker fruit-of-the-sea platters piled high with Carlsbad mussels, Mazatlan blue shrimp, Dungeness crab and ceviche.
Creativity on the ceviche front is a focus. One non-traditional variant manages to integrate chorizo, while another involves cilantro-serrano “chimichurri.”
Meanwhile, a short drive across West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at the Mondrian Hotel, the now-venerable Asia de Cuba has itself recently unveiled its own equally innovative ceviche selection. One iteration of the South American raw seafood dish includes shrimp, snapper and Vietnamese red chili featuring a confit of watermelon. Another melds black grouper, yuzu, horseradish, toasted sesame, Thai basil and Seville orange.
In addition, there are Kumamoto oysters bearing grapefruit-ginger granite and slices of spicy hamachi topped with plantain threads. Oh, and a new fish entrée scaled for two–Cantonese-style whole Tai red snapper steamed in a banana leaf and studded with shiitake mushrooms and scallions.