Orale! Contemporary Mexican Cuisine
We had intended to try Pura Vida for the first time, but with $10 parking downtown and no on-street options in sight, we decided to abandon the idea and travel west. It was before 5:00, so we were desperately trying the think of the places open early when Michele pointed to the right while we waited at a traffic light on West 25th. “Want to try Orale?” Jeff had not heard anything about it, but Michele recalled hearing some recent good comments. We wheeled the car to a nearby parking meter and were inside this tiny 20 (?) seat dining room in a flash.
Boy, what a good call on Michele’s part! Diners are greeted with a basket of tortilla chips and a couple of dishes of fresh-made salsas. We tried a mild tomato-onion mix, a mild black bean and a medium-spiced green tomatillo blend. We were offered another, but declined, fearing we would never complete our meal if we scooped up more of this intoxicating elixir. The menu looked so good, we immediately felt optimistic.
Michele started with the rich and flavorful Tortilla Soup. This is a tomato based (stewed tomatoes?) vegan version, but chicken can be added if desired. To balance the heavier start, she ordered the layered chicken, soft tortilla and cheese entrée. She felt it the perfect combo. To finish the evening, Michele tried the flan, which turned out to be a slice of wonderful flan pie. Her entire meal was flawless.
Jeff decided on the Empanadas appetizer. They were wonderful little pockets of pork, cheese and a selection of spices, topped with a few curls of fried plantain strips. He followed that with the Pork Tenderloin dinner. The slices of grilled pork sat atop a puff of crusted, mashed blue-potato and tart, sliced shitake mushrooms. It was so good, Michele plans on ordering it during our next visit. For dessert, Jeff had the blackberry tamale with a mix of chopped fruit and mint spilling out the ends. Like Michele’s, his whole dinner was wonderful.
This was a wonderful surprise and a place we’re already planning to visit again. In addition to the creative regular menu and a reduced lunch menu, a number of vegan options are offered and they also have a Vegan Tuesday menu. While we have never restricted our diet (is that a surprise?) the menu looks as good as the regular and perhaps the next visit may be on a Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday….
1834 West 25th Street Cleveland, OH 44113 216-862-3117