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Rumbo al Sur

Cocktails take the spotlight at the new Latin bistro.

Oakland
With this long-awaited offshoot of their popular Mediterranean-style small plates restaurant À Côté in Rockridge, owner Jack Knowles and chef Matt Colgan take a market-tested format to the sleepy Glenview district, then apply a Latin spin. The far-reaching menu ranges from a West Coast tuna tiradito—crisp plantains, shaved fennel, and blood orange complement the raw, pink fish—to acaraje, black-eyed pea fritters with cashew-ginger sauce (think falafels with Latin fire), borrowed from the streets of northeastern Brazil. Though the kitchen deserves kudos for inclusiveness and for its riff on chiles rellenos, with butternut squash and cremini mushrooms, many dishes are bland or slapdash, like an undersalted grilled corvina and an overcooked achiote pork chop that apple salsa fresca can’t bring back to life. Rumbo’s great strength is its bar, well stocked with tequila, mescal, and cachaca and staffed by people who know how to mix them. Their enticing cocktails may very well sustain this neighborhood restaurant. But those who make the crosstown trip from À Côté will find they’ve headed south in more ways than one. 4239 Park Blvd. (bet. Edgewood and Glenfield aves.), 510-479-1208 $$ DRW **