David King thinks you've been waiting too long for your cocktails.
The former Mozza sommelier and general manager of Cube Marketplace is the owner of Baldoria, a hybrid bar-restaurant that's expected to open in Little Tokyo next month.
Although pre-batched bottled cocktails have been a popular part of drink menus for some time — to the delight of overworked bartenders everywhere — Baldoria is taking that trend one step forward: All of its 10 or so cocktails will be mixed beforehand, carbonated in-bottle or barrel-aged, then cracked open and poured to order.
“There was simply no way to serve the drinks we wanted, in the way we wanted, without spending 15 to 20 minutes on each drink,” King says. “It took a great deal of experimenting to get the science right, but in the end it makes everyone happier.”
The cocktails will rotate through, but a few that are already planned for the opening include a sparkling margarita made with Mexican Damiana liqueur; nitrogen-carbonated Negronis; a barrel-aged blend of cognac, Suze and absinthe; and a riff on the old-fashioned made with Earl Grey–infused white whiskey. All they require is a bottle opener.
King says the inspiration for Baldoria came from an aperitivo bar he visited in Rome, a spot where he says the communal vibe blurred the divide between bar and restaurant. “We wanted to open a place where you were eating and drinking at the same time,” he says. “The goal is to make it feel like a sophisticated house party.”
Not unlike Everson Royce Bar, which opened in the Arts District last year, Baldoria aims to serve as a dining/drinking hub for residents of the apartment complexes that have recently sprung up in the surrounding area (the bar itself sits beneath an upscale apartment complex expected to open in early summer).
Joining King at Baldoria is Duke Gervais, the former chef of Cube Marketplace, who will serve as executive chef, pairing small plates meant for sharing with the cocktails, as well as a list of wines by the glass and local beers on tap. Gervais, a Houston native, has plans for pizzas topped with combinations like charred baby octopus and cipollini onions, or sliced ham, cheese and egg (a hangover-themed salute to the croque madame). You'll also find snacks like pan-fried short rib ravioli, pulled pork sliders and seared polenta bites with mushroom ragu.
Baldoria will offer weekend brunch, too, the highlight of which might be Gervais' spicy fried chicken waffle taco, served with whiskey barrel–aged maple syrup for dipping. “I'd classify that one as 'hipster inventive,'” Gervais says.
King and Gervais hope to have Baldoria open by early May, although the former Aburiya Toranoko space it's housed in still needs a good deal of work. Near the rear of the restaurant, King points to a completed wall pattern of swirling geometric shapes. “It's a little trippy to look at,” he says. “It might make people feel like they've had more to drink than they actually have.”
Baldori, 243 S. San Pedro St., Little Tokyo; baldoriadtla.com.