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Jun 14, 2009 05:35 PM

Toro dinner report

So, tomorrow's the birthday, and the wife and kids (foodies all) decided to take me out for a nice dinner. The Lad, a 12 y.o., is probably the biggest foodie of the bunch, and will try most anything you offer, if it doesn't sound completely disgusting. (He's not ready for cooked heart, for instance, but there's hardly a conventional part of an unconventional critter he won't chow on.)

Anyway, first restaurant in a while that lived up to the hype. Thanks to all the unknown Hounds who posted reviews (unknown to me--the Wife reviewed the board thoroughly). [It probably would score me no points to use a term for a female hound, would it? No. So, I'll go with "the Wife." ;-)]

We kept it fairly conventional, since the Lass is a first grader who is not as adventurous as the Lad. (The wee Lass, 6 months old, heartily recommends the rustic bread, whose crust she loved gnawing on.)

Ordered: Hummus. Yum. Deliciously seasoned with good spanish paprika.
Pan con tamate. Good but not spectacular. Delightfully salty. Out of season tomatoes, so so.
Patatas Bravas. Mmmm. perfectly cooked, with crispy outside and creamy insides.
Annas Empanadas. Outstanding. Unusual pastry crust, tasty but not over the top Chicken filling.
MaĆ­z Asado con Alioli y Queso Cotija . Wow. Great cheese sauce. Perfectly cooked grilled corn. Might have been one one fhe best of the night.
Bistec de Faldilla a la Plancha*. Perfectly cooked steak. The onions were a revelation.
Hamburguesas de Kobe*. These were for the Lass, who was struggling. When her brotehr asked her what the Kobe beef tasted like (American Kobe, no doubt) she replied "It tastes like hamburger, brother."

Least pleasing aspect of the night: there was a gay pride thing ending around when we arrived. That's not the problem, so much as the music during it was like the gay bar scene in Police Academy. The patrons: no problem. The music: well, it got better after six.

Least successful food: the churros. I had high hopes, but the pepper was over the top. I don't mind a savory dessert, but this crossed some imaginary boundary. Liked em, but Dali's churros are way better.


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  1. Great report. Like the B--, uh, the Wife, I've been wanting to try Toro, especially for that cheesy corn dish that everyone raves about, but the no reservations policy turns me off. What day/time did you go, and did you have to wait long? Also, how do Dali's churros compare? Are they sugary rather than peppery?

    12 Replies
    1. re: pollystyrene

      Ah, good questions. Went on Sun Jun 14. Arrived just as the private party was ending, so call it 6. No wait to speak of, though I think by 6:30/6:45 people were indeed waiting for tables. I would have had to wait until the end of the party had I arrived at 5 as originally planned, but for some reason we called ahead.

      Dali's Churros are savory, too, but less obvious pepper, and a bit more cinnamon sugar all around balances them better.

      1. re: headmaster

        They have the same corn at LaVerdad by Fenway.

        1. re: phatchris

          Really??? The same corn? And same portion size?

          1. re: content

            Four half ears for $4.95. Yum!


      2. re: pollystyrene

        Just got back from Toro. Waited about 25 minutes at 6:30pm on Friday. Not bad. When we finished at 8pm wait was an hour. Food decent but lacking the subtleties of authentic tapas. For example WAY too generous on the application of sea salt at final serving stage. In spirit of full disclosure I recently spent 3 days on an eating binge in San Sebastian in the Basque so I was spoiled. But it did give me a great means of comparison especially related to the artistically judicious use of sea salt just before plating..

        Also note that this place is INCREDIBLY loud....and very cramped. Music is louder than some dance clubs which raises the conversation volume proportionately. If you can get a seat outside, jump on it.

        Highlights were tomato bread with anchovy...mussels and chorizo, cauliflower on the plancha (easy on the salt please), fois gras w chutney, and braised short ribs.

        1. re: pondrat

          I would love to make the corn at home. The restaurant said it is rolled in garlic aoli (sp?) and then cotija cheese. anyone have the exact recipe? i do not know how to make the aoli???? also mayeb the sprinkle some cilantro on it????

          1. re: nytransplant

            it's aioli, like a mayonnaise -

            cotija is a very crumbly and slightly salty Mexican cheese. I don't think cilantro is traditionally served on these, in my experience.

            1. re: avial

              thanks for the help. yes i meant to say lime not cilantro :(

            2. re: nytransplant

              The corn sounds like a slightly upscaled version of elote, a popular street food in Mexico. A google search will yield plenty of recipes (here's a particularly good one, I think:, but basically it's a half (or sometimes whole) ear of grilled corn, coated with a mayonnaise/lime juice mixture (I'm sure nobody in Mexico calls it an aoili, but I guess technically that's what it is), then rolled in the crumbled cotija and sprinkled with a bit of cayenne and a litltle more lime juice. Traditionally, it's served on a little round stick and sold from little food carts (which you can find in latin-heavy areas of major US cities -- I know I've seen them in NYC, for instance, and heard reports that they are pretty common in Chicago).

              1. re: nytransplant

                Try a search on the Phantom Gourmet site. They featured the recipe on the show awhile back and you probably can still get it from the site.

            3. Riddle me this...their website says they are taking reservations for Restaurant Week...but no other time ????

              5 Replies
              1. re: capeanne

                I'm going to guess that if you participate in RW, you have to take reservations. The rest of the time, they don't need reservations -- they're packed pretty much every night of the week.


                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  We had lunch there recently. It is a more limited menu but very good and it was peaceful and relaxed. The Chorizo Sloppy Joe made with chorizo, caramelized onions and eggplant was wonderful. And, they have a very good wine list to match the food.



                  1. re: BostonZest

                    OK BostonZest, the pictures of the two sandwiches are reason enough to go back for a second try !!

                2. re: capeanne

                  Yes..rese for only for rest. week. Ihad my first experience hee during rest week and when I went to go back after that they said they didnt take reservations. The most I had to wait was 35 minutes on a sat night. Not too bad with a glass of wine at the bar :)

                  1. re: nytransplant

                    That's pretty lucky. Hour waits aren't uncommon at peak times, even on weeknights.