Oro Stands Out From Californian Fare Crowd

“Excuse me”, I called out to our waiter and tried to make eye contact as he strode by.  “Yes”, he curtly replied and skittered towards our table.  “Can these sausages be grilled for a couple more minutes?”  I asked while directing his attention to a sausage link I was butterflying with my knife.  Immersed in its dimly lit surroundings, the sausage’s raw pink center glistened from the shimmering light of our lone table candle.  “I do apologize.  I’ll get you a new dish right away.”  As he walked away, I passively demurred but he dismissed any further discussion on reheating the existing meal.  I turned a blind eye to the undercooked meat.  The homemade sausage oozed with flavor and the meat was fresh and well prepared.  Such a creation takes time to perfect and minor flaws a second day after the restaurant’s opening are to be expected.

I had first heard about Oro a week prior from a blog post and garnered nothing extraordinary from the restaurant’s synopsis other than it was on the verge of opening.  The article noted Oro would have California fare, blah blah blah.  How many places are opening with California cuisine these days?  Another expensive trendy restaurant, I mused.  The presumptions I had while walking through the restaurant’s entrance with my dining companion proved to be inaccurate.

During our dining experience, an attentive staff diligently refilled our waters, folded our napkins and kept us updated on dish arrivals.  When questioned, a bus woman intelligently offered an answer to the identity of an ingredient.  Her knowledge demonstrated the restaurant’s respect for her position and reflected a teamwork value system where knowledge is disseminated across all employees.

Dishes and ingredients were equally impressive.  Velvety tender gnocchi, fresh minty zucchini soup, savory flavorful sausages, homemade caramelized marshmallows and innovative cocktails.  “Please pour the drink into the glass after the cherry wood smoke has had at least a minute to steep”, a server firmly insisted as he held a small half-filled bottle oozing an ethereal wispy smoke from its mouth.  The caramel color liquor proved to be smooth and complex with subtle hints of cherry wood.

Overall  4.0 Stars

As we paid our bill and bid our goodbyes, I ruminated over the last one and a half hours and realized I would miss the experience.  I appreciated the effort, attention to detail, and creativity in each of the dishes and was pleased with our accommodating servers.  A relatively inexpensive $77 bill (tip included) showed Oro’s not all about the money.  The real test is whether Chef Jason Fox and his staff can keep the intensity going beyond the first couple of months.  We’ll come back for an encore later in the year to see whether Oro can put out an equally engaging performance.

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