8 Mint Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dining date: 12/24/15
Oro opened in September, the second restaurant from chef Jason Fox of the Michelin-starred restaurant Commonwealth. I’ve had some great meals at Commonwealth over the years, so I was very interested in trying this spot. The restaurant was one of the few that could welcome a party of 8 on Christmas Eve, so it was an opportune chance to try the restaurant with some extended family.
A la carte is available at the restaurant, as well as a blind tasting menu served family style for $75pp. To make things easier with such a large party, we opted for the tasting format. It turned out to be a ton of food.
Salt cod croquette, preserved garlic aioli
Sea urchin, scrambled egg, pickled jalapeño, grilled bread
Chicken liver mousse, fig and tea jam, brown rice cracker
The meal began with a plate of three snacks. The salt cod croquette was served hot, crispy, with a creamy salt cod filling. Sea urchin and scrambled egg was as good as it sounded, sitting atop toast. Lastly, the chicken liver mousse showed off a rich minerality and crispy brown rice cracker.
A trio of appetizer courses came next.
Simple green salad, fuyu persimmon, radish, herbs
Salad was as advertised – simple, crisp, fresh.
Fluke crudo, kohlrabi, fermented grape juice, bacon dressing
Fluke was very mild in flavor, paired with crispy kohlrabi and fruit.
Fried pig ears, whipped buttermilk, celtuce, fermented chili sauce
Pig ears were fried to a crisp, smothered in a sweet chili sauce glaze. Whipped buttermilk added a rich creaminess to the bites.
The third course brought in a large format clam dish paired with a vegetable.
Manila clams, nduja
Clams were sweet with savory sausage and plenty of lemon zest to brighten everything up. I found the sausage to be either too lean or overcooked, somewhat dry and tough, but the clams and broth were tasty.
Brassicas, curried cauliflower
Plates of light, yet flavorful vegetables accompanied the clams.
The next course featured two large protein dishes.
Daily pork roast, Brussels sprouts, grilled grapes, potato and bacon gratin
Thick slices of pork leg “steak” were juicy but not really that flavorful. The potato and bacon gratin was a hit though, with its thin layers of potato and crispy bacon exterior.
Chicken, squash, pickled chard stems, pumpkin seed relish
Some of the party felt the chicken was over-seasoned, but it was okay for my palate. The chicken was juicy and more flavorful than the pork. The potatoes were great, crispy and creamy with a creme fraiche accompaniment.
The final course was a couple of desserts.
Honey poached pear, jerusalem artichoke ice cream and crumble
Lemon cream, persimmon, pomegranate, rose petal madeleine
These were both good desserts featuring fresh fruit in various ways. I actually really liked the sunchoke ice cream – pretty sure I’ve never had that as a flavor before.
Dinner at Oro was a good one especially at the price point, though no one dish was particularly memorable. I didn’t think the food was quite at the high level of Commonwealth and from that standpoint, it was a bit disappointing. The tasting format was more food than we needed – we took a lot of leftovers home. I would definitely do a la carte if there is a next time.