Since 2011, when he opened Orale Kitchen (1834 W. 25th St., 216-781-4190, oralecmc.com), chef-owner Roberto Rodriguez has never stopped tweaking and improving his Ohio City restaurant. An offshoot of the popular Mexican foods stand of the same name at the West Side Market, Orale offers diners a full-service experience built around the chef’s contemporary Mexican cuisine.
Two years after opening the restaurant, Rodriguez expanded into an adjacent space, doubling the size of his dining room, adding a bar and new bathroom, and commencing booze service. Along with the new bar and expanded dining room, he added a cocktail-friendly bar menu equipped with Mexican snack foods like empanadas, quesadillas, salsa, tortas and salsas.
And now, in the wake of that recent move, Rodriguez is at it again. This time around he has revamped and expanded the lunch and dinner menus, offering diners more reasons than ever to pull up a chair at his funky Latin bistro.
“After three years, we needed to spruce up the menu a bit to keep things fresh and exciting," says Rodriguez. “I wanted to show more creativity with Mexican food and ingredients. I get to offer a few new items that people can't find in any Mexican restaurant in Cleveland and showcase more of my creative side.”
Some of the new starters include a cream-based corn and chipotle chowder; lobster-stuffed empanadas with chile garlic sauce; ceviche made with grilled shrimp and papaya; and quail Huevos Rancheros with Peruvian blue potato and chorizo hash and sunny side-up eggs.
In the entrée department, Rodriguez added a festive take on paella, with slow-roasted chicken, shrimp, clams, chorizo and peas served over saffron risotto. A trio of Enchiladas Suizas features shredded chicken-stuffed tortillas topped with tomatillo salsa, Swiss cheese, and crema fresca. For fish fans, there’s a guajillo pepper and orange-glazed grilled salmon served with fire-roasted poblano pepper risotto.
These new dishes join house favorites like avocado-stuffed spring rolls, queso fundido, beer-battered avocado tacos, chile rellenos, and barbacoa lamb chops.
Orale is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.