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Ácenar is not Mi Tierra with a snazzier paint job. With the exception of some slick color photos of nibbled galletas, paletas, and dulces - and maybe the noise level - there's not much at all in the highly charged interior that suggests Tex-Mex, classic or contemporary. In fact, the clever use of a molcajete grid on the patio takes us back to a much earlier era.;;The same might be said for the menu: It's divided into San Antonio Tex-Mex Favorites and Ácenar Specialties, and it's not clear at first glance whether the SA favorites are alleged to be updated, or if all the tweaking took place in the specialties section. An appetizer such as the house-smoked salmon nachos with discrete black beans and dill crema looks much like the classic cosa, but the taste is altogether otra. And it works, despite the rarity of both dill and smoked salmon in any Mexican kitchen, traditional or Tex. - Ron Bechtol
Downtown happy-hour central, come one, come all. Great conversation hideout, with friendly bartenders and stiff shots. -- SgtCody (10/08)
Friendly staff and delicious Mexican cuisine.
This upscale yet comfy lounge pairs a forward-thinking wine list with casual but imaginative tapas and chunky furniture that can swallow you whole for hours. Drawing a sophisticated crowd of locals and tourists, it also features better-than-average bar/restaurant art.
Here's a promise: In writing about Oro, there will be no cheap references to "good as gold," "gold standard," "fool's gold," etc. Although it's tempting, very tempting. My first comment does have to do with gold as a color: The faded blue denim shirts on the waiters have to go - with the possible exception of the one on our waiter. (It matched his eyes, according to a dining companion who notices such things.) As a part of last year's redo of the Emily Morgan, Oro rose from the ashes of the utterly undistinguished Yellow Rose Café. Now garbed in golds and deep browns, illuminated by handsome fabric pendants, sconces, and votive candles, and sporting such flagrantly opulent touches as an alabaster bar glowing from lights placed beneath, the restaurant has an air of elegance rivaled by few in the city. The second-string waitstaff is garbed in black, tunic-style jackets. So what's with the denim? Think of an evening at Oro as theater, and you'll understand where I'm coming from. Thinking of the menu as Modern Italian, as it claims to be, may help define its direction some, but isn't really necessary to enjoyment of the meal. - Ron Bechtol
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