We have been telling you about ORO since March, when it was still under construction. The global cuisine restaurant finally opened its doors last month, but we only recently got a chance to check it out.
The Location: ORO is located at 18 E Martin St. in Raleigh, a stone's throw away from Beasley's Chicken and Honey. The large windows make this a great place to dine and enjoy the view. The crisp white walls and elegant minimalistic design inside make the place look like it will cost you a lot more than it does to eat there. Parking is available along nearby streets.
The Company: The Out & About lunch crew.
The Meal: We started with the vegetable spring rolls served with a sweet chili sauce. They didn't last long! A great small plate item to share and start the dining experience.
Here's a rundown of what we thought of the meal:
Kathy and Sarah: We each had the grilled vegetable sandwich ($9), which was covered in parsley pesto and served on a flatbread. The vegetables were delectable, but the pesto made them a little slippery. It was a challenge to keep them on the flatbread, but the quality of the ingredients made this a very tasty sandwich. It was served with fries, which came in cute cartons. Cut into tiny, onion-straw sized bites, the fries were outstanding!
Lisa: I loved the dramatic amount of day lighting and was actually surprised at how little color there is to the restaurant – the amount of white used in the décor really makes it feel like a larger space than it may actually be. The menu was creative and didn’t break the bank either, which is a nice touch given the upscale look of the venue. The vegetable spring rolls were tasty and the service (complete with table-side iPad use to ensure accuracy and face time spent with customers) was a fun interaction. The gem of this visit was the EBLT I had, sans the bacon, which the kitchen kindly added eggplant to, upon request. The way it was plated, with the fries in a separate standing dish, made the sandwich look on the smaller side, but the meal was anything but unfulfilling. I wish I had ventured upstairs for a look, but that’s just a great excuse to go back for another visit! A great lunch under $12.
Jodi: At first glance, Oro's décor belied the affordable lunch to be had. I really expected to pay more, given the spare lines and high-end finishes in the dining room. I was pleasantly surprised! Another pleasure was the service. By mistake, I read the EBLT as eggplant, bacon, lettuce, tomato. Our server overheard by conversation and offered to make the substitution before I could even ask. I second Lisa's comment about the size of that sandwich. It looked spare on the white plate, but was plenty filling. Appetizer and desserts were also beautiful on the plate, and the "cone" of fries was a fun touch.
We finished our meal with the "Coffee and Donuts" ($8) dessert - orange sugar donuts served with mocha and sweet cream dipping sauce. Judging by how quickly we ate this, I would say it was a hit!
The Service: Service was prompt and efficient. Servers use iPads to place your order and can even run your credit card at the table at the end of the meal. The place is also very accomodating if you want to add something to your sandwich or remove it. Lisa and Jodi easily added eggplant to their EBLTs.
The Final Bill: With our entrees ranging from $9 to $12, it was a fulfilling lunch without breaking our budgets. Restaurant owners Chris and Cara Hylton said in March that their goal was to combine global cuisine at a price less than $15 an entree and they succeeded. The menu items are moderately priced, with most dinner entrees around $15 or less. The lobster skewers are an exception at $18. Lunch items ranged from $7 to $16. There is even a three-course executive lunch for $17.
The Verdict: We can't wait to head back for dinner and check out their wines on tap and the cocktail samplers.