Red O

1541 Ocean Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90401(310) 458-1600 redorestaurant.com

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I know Rick Bayless is a name in the industry, but after that performance his name should be Please Cookless, because nada was bueno. Well, in terms of the food, anyway. The décor and energy (code for noisy) of the place is actually great. And they sport a nice range of tequilas should you want to go that way. They also have a pretty long list of cocktails as well, which I can only assume is designed to get you all liquored up so you’re awareness is impaired about the mediocrity you are about to eat.

Unfortunately the booze wasn’t enough to distract me from the piss poor service. Friendly for sure, but sloppy and slow. She completely forgot our guacamole order and missed on every recommendation, granted the fact that there’s nothing truly great on the menu makes it awfully hard to win in that scenario.

Amid the sea of asi asi (translation: so so) are the goat cheese tamales, which are okay on taste, but very mushy on texture. The duck taquitos, which were dry and tasteless, needing the addition of one of the salsas from the chips to give it moisture and make it worth half its salt. Oh, which reminds me… it needed more salt.

For the entrees, the shrimp and rice was “pretty standard” (to be read like Dr. Evil), the fennel lobster tails were a big ho hum and the NY strip with chimichurri, while the best of the three, is certainly no reason to come here.

Hell, they even managed to fuck up the churros, which are a foodie lay up, if you ask me. Way too hard and dry. And the chocolate and caramel dip wasn’t even close to being rich or flavorful enough to save them. But perhaps I’m to blame for not heeding the warning on the door. After all, “Zero” is right in the name. And that’s what this place is, a flaming red zero.

1 tooth

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Perilla

9 Jones St. New York, NY 10014(212) 929-6868perillanyc.com

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Been trying to go here for a while now, not that it’s that hard to get into, which is a HUGE plus in NYC, but plans just kept falling through for various reasons. As a result, perhaps the hype grew a tad too great.

That said, Perilla really does have its sterling moments. After all, it is a Harold Dieterle (Top Chef) restaurant. Unfortunately, inconsistency is its cross to bare and with such steep misses, I find it hard to give this place anything above 3 knives.

Here’s why:

Service is okay. The hostess is virtually non-existent and the waitress adequate. As for decor, it’s nice, but nothing to speak of. Simple, but lacking in vibe or character. However, I’m not docking knives for either.

For the food, let’s start off with the aptly named starters, which got things off on the rightest foot possible. Everything was superb. The tortellini in that broth? Heaven. The scallop carpaccio? Incredibly flavorful and complex for something so thin. And the foie gras/squab terrine? Just awesome. Literally the best FG terrine I think I’ve ever had, and I’m not such a fan. I’m much more partial to the seared variety. But if the terrine always tasted like this, I’d be a changed man.

Sounding pretty damn good right about now, right? Well, the chef shoulda pulled a Costanza and said “I’m outta here!” Going out on top. But noooo… We just had to order main courses. Of the lot, only the monkfish was on par with the apps. Both the pork chop and the lamb-two-ways fell firmly in the mediocre camp, which is especially annoying when you drop 40 bucks a plate on a dish!!! I’m sorry, but if you are going to break the $4o stratosphere for an entree, you had better stick the landing. That alone is an offense punishable by one knife in my book.

As for the sides, both the brussel sprouts and the cauliflower were excellent. So, it would seem perhaps this place would be better suited to do small plates.

That said, dessert is most certainly something they are not suited for. Not one thing they served was worth the calories. The dark chocolate souffle, while a respectable good, paled in comparison to dozens of restaurant souffles before it. And the lemon cake, that was intended to be a refreshing tit for our chocolatey tat, proved to be dry and terrible. Even the little chocolate salted caramels that came with the check were dry and off balance. So, you guessed it- down goes Frazier (along with another knife).

All in all, I’m still glad I went, but I can’t say I’ll rush back unless someone else is paying.

3 teeth