internationally-inspired small plates + creative cocktails

by Avivah with Offline

ORO 101

Over the past seven years, ORO has earned its reputation as one of DTR’s most destination-worthy restaurants. It’s a chic spot, serving up incredible, internationally-inspired small plates and cocktails like you’ve never seen before. 

As a frequent international traveler, ORO’s Head Chef is always bringing fresh, worldly flavors back to the restaurant, presenting avant-garde dishes that’ll engage all your senses. There’s smoke-filled jars, dry ice, and plenty of other playful accents throughout the eclectic menu of small plates. In short, it’s a little flashy and a lot of fun.

With high ceilings, lots of glass, and sleek, white decor, ORO certainly feels upscale—and it is, just without the stuffiness of your typical hoity-toity restaurant. The staff are friendly, the dishes have soul, and—most importantly—everything we tasted was the fire emoji, personified. 

What to order

Almost everything at ORO small-ish and shareable meaning you’ll get to order multiple things on their seasonal menu. Whether you’re there on a date or for a night on the town with friends, you should be able to make a decent dent in the menu. While the selection is often changing based the chef’s inspiration, here’s what we loved most when we went:

  • The Truffle Mac & Cheese ($10) has always been a customer favorite (this is the South, after all). It packs a punch with a strong, earthy truffle flavor, and crispy panko topping for added texture. 
  • The Smoky Ribs ($16) come to your table covered in a glass dome filled with smoke. Revealed tableside, you’ll find a hearty stack of succulent, fall-off-the-bone ribs. 
  • Sesame Cauliflower ($12) is like an elevated, veggie version of General Tso’s Chicken. Tempura-battered and served with a sweet chili sauce, it’ll satisfy carnivores and vegans alike. 
  • If you’re craving succulent seafood, the Grilled Octopus Skewers ($19) and Seared Scallops ($18) are both excellent, perfectly seared, sharable options. 

ORO also recently added “Center of the Table Features,” which are larger sharable entrees, like Wagyu Steak Tartare ($18) atop roasted bone marrow or a massive pan of Seafood Paella ($30) that’s perfect for a crowd. 

And FYI: There are plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options for those with dietary restrictions.

Of course, we can’t forget about the drinks (and trust us: once you’ve tried a drink from ORO, you won’t either). That’s because these are drinks with dramaaaaaa. While also regularly rotating, you can be sure that whatever you order will be unlike anything you’ve ever had. The Bath & Boozy ($14), for instance, is a refreshing vodka cranberry spritz with a twist—it’s served up in a mini bathtub complete with a tiny rubber duck. Order up America’s Pastime($14) and you can expect an old fashioned but elevated with peanut-infused whiskey, salted popcorn bitters, and a teeny bag of cracker jacks on the side.

All of their drinks are an experience in and of themselves, but worry not—they don’t sacrifice taste for theatricality. Perfectly balanced and surprisingly smooth, each drink is a full sensory experience.

And don’t forget dessert! You’re probably familiar with Campfire ($15), the DIY s’mores dessert that lets you roast marshmallows right at your table. They’re Insta-famous and sort of an obligatory order, if you ask us. But also don’t overlook the Banana Bread Pudding ($8), a homemade recipe that uses buttery croissants and features a fully brûléed banana. Who says you can’t have two desserts?

Pro Tips

  • Reminder that these are small plates. Two to three items per person should cover you. They each come out as they’re ready.
  • Reservations (especially on weekends) are strongly encouraged.
  • They’ve got a Family Tasting Menu that’s just $45 per person. Just leave it up to the Head Chef extraordinaire to choose your dishes for you (and know you’re in good hands). Chef Chris will prep you a few of his very favorite items—all bound to surprise and delight you. Your Premium Perk can be used towards this menu (huzzah!), but know that your whole table must opt in. 
  • After you use your Premium Perk, come back for their “Social Hour,” where, from 5-7p, Monday-Friday,  you can nab a number of choice items—all for just five bucks a pop. (Unfortunately, you can’t use your Premium Perk for this, but why would you want to waste it on something that’s already such a good deal?!)