Three new restaurants opened in the final quarter of 2020, a bold move in a year with plenty of negative restaurant news.
Yo! Pablo, a taqueria from Jeff Rogers Concepts (Pink Parrot, Pig & Butcher, etc.) occupies the old Hudson’s Hideout east of Nichols Hills (6728 N. Olie). The revamped space will soon have an expanded patio. The menu features traditional tacos, including quesabirria, carne asada, and carnitas.
Rogers hired Drew Gallegos as corporate chef to oversee his recent expansions. The industry veteran has constructed a delicious menu focused almost solely on tacos. Vegetarian options, like the roasted cauliflower taco, are creative and delicious. The braised pork belly taco is surely the star of the menu, along with the tequila selection.
At last, Bruce Rinehart made the transition to his new Rococo Western location in November (4308 N. Western Ave.) after construction-related delays pushed back the opening. The beautiful new space is the old Barrel/Café Nova, but the facelift makes it one of the more stunning spaces in the city. An original piece of artwork by Klint Schor sets off the seafood theme, and the stunning blue bartop is sure to be an Instagram favorite.
Ryan Goodman oversaw the creation of a new cocktail list and wine list, and the results are smart, delicious, creative and approachable. Goodman even has a coffee-based cocktail on tap, along with Rococo Water — a riff on Ranch Water that will be a perfect starter on the covered patio. The scaled-down menu is focused on some Rococo favorites with a strong emphasis on oysters, clams and fish. Yes, the crab cake is still on the menu, so don’t fret
Finally, Jimmy B’s Culinary & Krafted opened in the old Mercedes Benz dealership in Automobile Alley in November. The homage to a former area manager – the late and much beloved Jim Blanchard – is a modern American meets Asian cuisine-focused menu. It is the smallest in the Hal Smith family of restaurants, with a commitment to craft and classic cocktails that’s also unlike anything in the HSRG universe. Doing a few things well seems to be the point, and the cuisine and service deliver in remarkable ways. The Korean rib cap is likely the menu’s star; however, there is something for everyone, including a Delmonico steak frites, tuna salad, incredible “Osaka style” sushi, and one of the best Old Fashioneds in the state.