Rumbo Al Sur [Oakland]
Went here a couple weeks ago and sat at the bar for dinner. We shared just a couple things, ending up having more of a "liquid dinner" (we'd already had a drink at Marzano's, across the street). To start, we had an Atacama, made with pisco, guava juice, St. Germain elderflower, and muddled lime. We then moved on to a wonderful bottle of wine, recommended by the wine buyer/bartender: Carmenere, J Bouchon ~ 9/36, Maule Valley, Chile 2011, which he'd recently found in a little village in Chile. Great find - deep red and spicy.
We split the salt cod fritters and the chicharron de pollo. The fritters were served with a sauce that was so good, and so spicy, that the chicharrones paled in comparison to me - a Smoked Peanut-Malagueta Pepper Salsa. i wanted to spread that on everything - the heat was impressive because you don't usually get sauces in restaurants that don't cheap out on the heat. It wasn't unbearable - my friend isn't as big a chili-head as I am but she liked it too - but the combination of heat and smoke was fantastic. The chicharrones were good, but not as stellar (could have been crispier). We had planned to get the lamb birria as well, but with those two apps under out belts (and the booze) we were pretty full.
Even though we didn't have a full dinner, based on that cod dish alone I will go back. I didn't know this was A Cote's sister restaurant, a place i really enjoy. And really loved the impressive knowledge and warm, friendly service at the bar.
Also remembered we ate yucca fries, which were very good - not too starchy, nice and crispy - which contributed to our cancelling the lamb birria order.
just back to do some editing - a omission about wine:
the wine the bartender turned us on to, in addition to the one i mentioned above, was actually an El Pais de Quenehuao, from Cauquenes, Maule Valley, Chile 2010. The bartender wrote it down for me. i just found my notes. it had a really wonderful cherry aroma, not sweet, very bright and light. He explained that the grape, El Pais, was considered to be a "lesser" one, but this wine by Luis Antoine Luyt out of his Domaine Clos Ouvert winery shows different.