Fans of Manu’s Bodega and Manu’s Tacos, rejoice — Oro Kitchen, chef Manu Alfau’s latest Latin American culinary venture, opens today for weekday lunch service in South Lake Union (227 9th Ave. N). It’s a sibling to Gold Bar, a shiny, sparkly, mid-century-modern spot that opened a month ago in the same building with its own distinct Alfau menu and over-the-top flourishes like gold-plated pineapples, chests, and even disco ball.
The menu at Oro Kitchen focuses on bowls with a base of winter greens or Cuban black bean rice topped with a choice of Argentine grilled churrasco steak, grilled vegetables, chorizo sausage, or “Gold Nugs” (fried chicken, shredded cabbage, chiles, and crack sauce).
While there are a few bright-blue tables for dining in, Oro Kitchen is intended as a fast-casual eatery catering to the busy lunch crowd. As such, there will be a selection of grab-and-go items such as oro salad, shrimp ceviche, and a Spanish omelet.
Next door to Oro Kitchen, cocktail enthusiasts find a tongue-in-cheek taste of Seattle’s vintage past in Gold Bar. Low couches and a sweeping bar with padded stools make for a more comfortable stay than the quick turnaround intended at Oro Kitchen. On the drinks side, cocktails include the Kingston negroni (Hamilton Jamaican Gold Rum, Campari, and El Torino) and the Oaxacan highball (mezcal, guava soda, and lime). As for food, empanadas and tacos (with a choice of fried oysters, carnitas, or mushrooms) take center stage.
Along with Alfau, the team behind Gold Bar and Oro Kitchen comprises restaurant veteran Laara Garcia (with experience at the likes of Anchovies and Olives, Zig Zag Cafe, and Lecosho) and marketing gurus Zach Huntting and Shena Bannick. To lend further legitimacy to the cause, they’ve also enlisted high-profile bartenders, including Erik Hakkinen of Zig Zag Cafe (and currently building out his own bar downtown), Andrew Rodrigues of Knee High Stocking Company, Kerilynn Steinberg of Lecosho, and Anna Davies of Serafina.
The owners hope to offer something missing from SLU: a hip neighborhood bar and community space. Every Saturday, for example, Gold Bar will host events put on by local artists, musicians, chefs, and more.
Oro Kitchen is open for weekday lunch Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gold Bar is open Tuesday to Saturday 4 p.m. to close, with happy hour running 4 to 6 p.m.