When Iberian Rooster opened at 475 Central Avenue in late 2016, it introduced cuisine from the former colonies of Portugal to downtown St. Pete. But the concept, which offered an overwhelming range of foreign flavors, turned out to be a bit confusing. There were dishes from Brazil, India, Mozambique, Goa, and Macau, among others.
When owner Russell Andrade was conceptualizing Iberian Rooster he intended to create a restaurant that focused on the food he grew up eating. But as his vision expanded so did the menu and Iberian Rooster’s offerings became a smorgasbord of cuisine.
And so, as a result of COVID-19 and the desire to develop a distinct identity, Andrade has returned to his roots and revamped Iberian Rooster’s food offerings into an entirely new concept — Avo’s Kitchen. The new fast-casual restaurant serves food from only one region, Goa, a state on the Arabian Sea in southwestern India.
“My father is Portuguese and born in Goa,” says Andrade. “Some of the dishes, such as the Goan patties and sorpotel, come from food I would eat as a child.”
Avo means grandmother in Portuguese and the recipes at Avo’s Kitchen come straight from Andrade’s grandmother. Typically, dishes from Goa are very rich in ginger, garlic, onion, and cilantro but can also include tropical flavors such as mango and coconut.
“My grandmother literally raised my brother and I while my parents worked full-time jobs,” says Andrade. “This is a tribute to her.”
Avo’s Kitchen, which is the only Goan restaurant in the state of Florida, features a menu full of stews and curries.
As with most fast-casual restaurants, you have the option to build your own Goan bowl or choose from a menu of Chef’s Choices with predetermined ingredients.
If you build your own bowl, you decide whether you want one, two, or three bases. A variety of bases are available including brown rice, Palau rice, lentils, riced cauliflower, and mixed greens.
Protein offerings include a spicy pork curry called sorpotel, coconut curry chicken, local tempeh fry, curried cauliflower/potatoes, crispy red masala fish, Goan grilled shrimp, and curried chicken salad.
As for toppings, choose from picked cucumbers, crunchy spiced chickpeas, cilantro, fresh chilis, red onion, toasted coconut and candied jalapeños. Pile on as many as you’d like, there is no additional change for more toppings.
Lastly, drizzle a homemade sauce over your Goan bowl. Options are the Rooster sauce (creamy cilantro jalapeño), tamarind chutney, sweet herb, gochujang, and hot sauce.
In a hurry or feeling lazy? Leave the customization to the pros by trying one of the seven Chef’s Choice bowls. The Millennial Falcon features Palau rice, lentils, chili fry tempeh, curried cauliflower, creamy chili coriander, hot sauce, chickpeas, cilantro, pickles, and avocado.
Don’t forget to pick up a few sides to accompany your Goan bowl. Popular selections include the samosas, Goan patties, roti, and Rooster wings.
If dining in, you can take solace in the fact that Andrade has gone through great lengths to ensure Avo’s is very COVID-19 compliant. Five new cafe tables, which doubled the seating from 20 to 40 people, have been added to the outdoor patio. Also, both indoor and outdoor tables have been spaced out with plexiglass dividers and display signs denoting recently sanitized tables.
“While these dishes might be exotic in nature, they bring me back to my childhood with every bite and I sincerely hope you enjoy them,” says Andrade.
Avo’s Kitchen is now open at 475 Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete. Operating hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11AM to 9PM at 475 Central Avenue. For more information on Avo’s or to view their menu, visit their website. Also follow their Facebook page for more Goan bowl goodness!
And as a side note, The entire two story space will continue to operate as Iberian Rooster, but now Avo’s Kitchen and SubCentral, the basement event space, will be subconcepts within Iberian Rooster.
Source: Thanks https://stpeterising.com/home/2020/9/25/floridas-first-goan-restaurant-avos-kitchen-debuts-in-downtown-st-pete