"When I closed Flower I said I'm never going back into the restaurant business — I'm done," recalls chef Roberto Rodriguez, regarding the short-lived restaurant that replaced That Place on Bellflower. "I guess I couldn't stay away from it."
Granted, the odds have only improved for Rodriguez, a chef whose resume goes clear back to the Caxton Café with Michael Symon. For the past 12 years, he has run the popular Mexican foods stand Orale at the West Side Market, and his catering business has done nothing but grow.
In late July, Rodriguez will open Orale Kitchen, in the former Dish and Opa! spot on W. 25th Street. Since Dish closed, Rodriguez has used the space as his commercial kitchen.
"I figured, I'm here cooking all the time, I might as well open the doors," he says half jokingly.
The 25-seat eatery will serve the chef's brand of contemporary Mexican cuisine. A chilled display case will also carry many of the prepared foods he sells at the market.
On the menu will be lobster gazpacho, tortilla soup, vegan black bean chile, and blue cornmeal-crusted calamari with chile guajillo sauce. Add to that chicken mole-stuffed tamales, blue corn crab cakes, and shrimp and papaya summer rolls wrapped in wafer-thin jicama leaves. Fish tacos will feature grilled mahi and a spicy jalapeno cream sauce.
Orale will be BYOB and open for lunch and dinner every day but Sunday and Monday.
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