Pan Con Tomate – Toasted Bread with Garlic, Tomato, Spanish Olive Oil, Sea Salt
Datiles Con Jamon – Medjool Dates filled with Marcona Almonds and Valdeon Blue Cheese, wrapped in Jamon Serrano
Jamon Blanco – Le Quercia Lardo, Marinated Jonah Crab, Black Garlic, Crispy Shallots and Avocado on Toast
Zanahorias – Berbere Spiced Carrots with Garlic, Yogurt and Mint
Maiz Asado Con Alioli Y Queso Cotija – Grilled Corn with Alioli, Lime, Espelette Pepper and Aged Cheese
Croquettas de Bacalao – Salt Cod Fritters with Tempura Onion Rings and Alioli
Uni Bocadillo – Pressed Uni Sandwich with Miso Butter and Pickled Mustard Seeds
Churros – Fried Donuts with Cinnamon, Sugar and Chocolate Sauce
A staple of Boston’s dining scene since opening in the South End, Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s Toro has perhaps lost a bit of novelty as the Spanish Tapas style has been imported and utilized by several chefs in countless cities, but with heavily wooded space still buzzing for both lunch and dinner there is little doubt that the team is continuing to do something right in order to remain relevant.
Recently taking the brand to New York, a bold move for a duo that has become one of Boston’s most beloved restaurateurs, Toro is more traditional than many of the modern looks at Tapas or ‘small-plates,’ and avoiding the prices and trickery of Jose Andres thinkfoodgroup the experience offered is thought provoking as a comparison to the restaurants found throughout Spain offering similar food, the vast majority of items more pricy than those in Europe but executed at least as precisely.
Planned as part of another extensive eating day, a second lunch at Coppa to follow, the ordering process at Toro was centered on personal favorites as well as a few of the restaurant’s most well known items, the bread basket largely just filler while the Pan Con Tomate was a far more inspired investment as toast shined beneath a light brush of garlic, tomato and sea salt.
Resting assured that the cured meats would be delicious, the Chef’s having made their name by not only importing but making top notch Charcuterie of their own, Dates wrapped in Jamon Serrano were perhaps the best version experienced in part due to the funky Valdeon, a dish called Jamon Blanco proving to be just about the most delicious “avocado toast” imaginable as Jonag Crab joined black garlic under a veil of silky Lardo.
Taking a vegetal turn before ending turning to two umami-laden looks at Sealife, Vegetarians as well as Omnivores would be well advised to order Zanahorias as well as the inspired Street Corn, the former doing a beautiful job highlighting both the sweet and earthy aspects of Carrots while the Brandade Croquettas are creamy and explosive with flavor, a crispy Sea Urchin Sandwich flooding the palate with all the expected richness tinged in Miso and Mustard Seeds.
A bit too limited for my liking for dessert, freshly fried churros not even listed on the menu but available on request, suffice it to say that these are not the greasy donuts offered outside the Hollywood Bowl for $1 after a concert, the exteriors fried golden with the center almost weightless as Cinnamon and Sugar are liberally applied with the option left to the diner as to whether or not to dip in molten Dark Chocolate.