Oro is the Star Tribune's Restaurant of the Year
When Nixta opened during the throes of the pandemic, vending tacos to go from a space no bigger than a storage container, the prospect of expansion wasn't on the proprietors' minds, nor ours.
Those who "dined in" would eat tacos on a worn ironing board on the sidewalk, or inside by the order counter. But those tacos: thick but effortlessly pliant tortillas; thoughtful fillings like crisp mahi mahi or gelatinous, deeply flavored cabeza. And the whole operation that ran it: a kitchen more than twice as large as the takeout space; a machine resembling an industrial-grade 3-D printer that nixtamalizes all that prized corn. It was a matter of time.
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And although Oro, which expanded and opened next door in June, started as a counter-serve operation, owners Gustavo and Kate Romero quickly adapted and built a full-service restaurant that offered plated dishes, too. The ones you eat slowly to appreciate the rich sauces, like the depth-plunging moles, and vibrant accoutrements, like gently charred onions and caramelized pineapple. The ones that you fervently tell friends about. The ones that change with the season, (fleetingly) disappointing you, then astound you again when they reappear, wholly new, like a silky black cod and tomato fume. It can feel precious.
It also feels right — Oro truly is Spanish for "gold."
1222 NE. 2nd St., Mpls., 612-200-8087, nixtampls.com