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Torito - Still in business and still good!

Charles Yu Aug 23, 2009 06:06 PM

After finding out the reason behind Torito's telephone disconnect was due to a change of number from 647 to 416 (961-7373 ) and not closing down. Our party of five headed downtown yesterday for a late night dinner. The place was packed and extremely noisy!

We had a bottle of very interesting Spanish Muscat/Gerwurtz., white and the following entree dishes:
- Piquillo peppers stuffed with salted cod and tapenade.
- Pan fried sardines with Romano beans, fennel, mint parsley salad.
- Merguez, crispy polenta and tomatoes.
- Crab croquettes with parsley aioli
- Roasted quail, pomegranate glaze squash
- Braise beef tongue and cheek
- Lamb loaf with currants and dried apricots in almond-saffron sauce
- Chilean tripe stew
- Roasted rack of lamb
For dessert, we all went for the Flan de chocolate.

Surprisingly and extremely rare, every one of the afore mentioned dishes was tasty and we did not have a single disappointment! Three 'consensus stand outs' were the Piquillo peppers , the tripe stew and the ever amazing tongue and cheek! This latter dish must have been on their menu 'forever'! We were not surprised because the aroma was simply mesmerizing, the meat folk tender and the sauce was so delicious, we have to order a plate of bread to mop it up. If ever they decide to remove it from their menu, it will surely be Toronto's loss!

Finally, an honorary mention to the Chocolate flan. A 'chocolate creme caramel' , this dessert was damnnnnnn good!!!

BTW, the original chef, Chef Carlos has left for Latin America. The kitchen is now run by the ex-sous, Chef Luis, who, IMO is doing a fine job, if not better than before!

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  1. d
    drjolt RE: Charles Yu Aug 23, 2009 06:34 PM

    I LOVE those peppers. Mmmm... Haven't been in a while, but your post reminds me of how much I enjoy it. They also usually have a good cheese offering for dessert.

    1. Splendid Wine Snob RE: Charles Yu Aug 23, 2009 08:50 PM

      Thanks for the review Charles. I have always loved the Tripe Stew and the Beef Tongue and Cheek dishes. And the chocolate flan has always been very good as well. Lovely to know that Chef Luis has done a great job in taking over the kitchen. I am definitely due for a visit-Torito has been a favorite of mine since moving to Toronto. I love the atmosphere, its great for a group.


      1. BokChoi RE: Charles Yu Aug 24, 2009 10:44 AM

        Thanks for the review Charles. Sounds like a great place.

        4 Replies
        1. re: BokChoi
          EarlyDrive RE: BokChoi Aug 24, 2009 01:53 PM

          I was hoping to see some new dishes. I've been many times in the past and really enjoyed it every time but stopped going because, essentially, the menu never changes.

          1. re: EarlyDrive
            Charles Yu RE: EarlyDrive Aug 24, 2009 04:09 PM

            They do have two specials of the day every day.

            1. re: Charles Yu
              EarlyDrive RE: Charles Yu Aug 24, 2009 06:42 PM

              Sure -- but the remainder of the dishes have been the same for years now. It's the kind of place that we like to go with a few friends, so if you are getting 8 or 10 dishes for a small group (as you did), 6-8 of them are the same as the time before.

              1. re: EarlyDrive
                Splendid Wine Snob RE: EarlyDrive Aug 24, 2009 06:58 PM

                You definitely have a good point EarlyDrive. However, its comforting to me that they can consistently execute these dishes, and sometimes I don't feel like taking a gamble on someone trying too hard in the kitchen with failed results. Sometimes I do-and that's when you can really find out who's on top of their game in this city. But for those other nights, I know my dollars won't be wasted. The service has always been fantastic as well.


        2. p
          peppermint pate RE: Charles Yu Aug 24, 2009 08:17 PM

          So glad you gave it a go Charles. I also went again last week, after you started the "number changing" thread - and once again, it was fantastic. I've been twice since Carlos left and I would say that the food has gotten even better with Chef Luis. He is energetic, passionate and has enthusiasm to try new things. That said, as others have noted, the main menu is more or less the same as it's always been (there have been a few changes, like the merguez dish), though the daily specials seem to be a bit more abundant.

          You missed a few of my favourites, Charles - the shrimp (OMG, I could happily immerse myself in the accompanying sauce), patatas bravas and the steak with egg and chips - put them on your list for next time. I also like the spinach with chick peas.

          Lovely service, fun energy, great food, warm hospitality and good value - for me, Torito nails it every time.

          4 Replies
          1. re: peppermint pate
            Charles Yu RE: peppermint pate Aug 24, 2009 09:45 PM

            Yes! I do agree with you that the shrimp and patatas bravas were very good, the last time we tried them. However, I found the flat iron steak a bit bland. BTW, there was a reason why we skipped the shrimp. After eaten live west coast spotted prawns from O 'Mei and 'wild' Texas/Gulf of Mexico shrimps from George not too long ago, our palette for prawns was kind of spoiled and discriminating?! Sorry!!

            1. re: Charles Yu
              peppermint pate RE: Charles Yu Aug 25, 2009 06:54 AM

              Ha - I can hardly fault you for being "shrimped out" after those experiences. For some reason, I thought this was your first visit to Torito. Anyway, when you go back again, please try the steak - in my view, it is the dish that has been the most highly elevated in flavour and texture in the hands of the new chef. It was s-t-u-n-n-i-n-g last week.

              1. re: peppermint pate
                Charles Yu RE: peppermint pate Aug 25, 2009 05:33 PM

                Recommendation from you?! Will definitely try it out!!!! Many Thanks!

                1. re: Charles Yu
                  peppermint pate RE: Charles Yu Aug 26, 2009 08:20 AM

                  I'm searching for one of those little smiley faces with the flushed cheeks...

                  Thanks Charles. I look forward to hearing back once you've tried it.

          2. b
            basileater RE: Charles Yu Aug 25, 2009 09:35 AM

            I'm glad you mentioned Torito because I was just there last night and the food was amazing.

            We had:
            -serrano ham
            -bread, cheese and olives
            -fish ceviche
            - Piquillo peppers stuffed with salted cod and tapenade.
            - potatoes bravas with chorizo
            - Roasted quail, pomegranate glaze squash
            - Braised beef tongue and cheek
            -chickpea and spinach stew
            -almond cake
            -cheese plate

            We thoroughly enjoyed every last dish. Unfortunately they were out of the tripe stew but the silver lining in that is that we'll just have to come again soon to give it a try.

            1. j
              JennaBean RE: Charles Yu Aug 26, 2009 12:16 PM

              Thanks for your reminder review. It has been over six months since my last visit and now it has moved up my list - maybe even for this weekend!

              1. Ediblethoughts RE: Charles Yu Sep 5, 2009 05:59 PM

                We tried Torito out based on the enthusiasm in this thread and really enjoyed it.

                Bread,fresh cheese and fiesta
                Orange, radishes , toasted pepitas (this one was done a little differently due to ingredient shortage but it was still lovely)
                beets,black lentils,goat cheese and frisse salad w/ red wine vinaigrette
                Arugula , manchego cheese , roasted almonds salad w/quince vinaigrette
                Piquillo peppers stuffed w/ salted cod and tapanade sauce
                Andalusian spinach and chickpeas stew
                Shrimps al ajillo
                Chocolate flan

                One thing though---while no dish was tiny, no dish was significant in what was there--so when all is said and done, a bit on the pricey side. But well worth it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ediblethoughts
                  Ediblethoughts RE: Ediblethoughts Sep 6, 2009 05:28 PM

                  I meant to add: The patio in the back is wonderful! One of the prettiest ones I've been in; covered so whimsically with white overlapping sheets---it's like being on a boat. And the service was so friendly and gracious.

                2. jayt90 RE: Charles Yu Sep 6, 2009 05:34 PM

                  Torito, address not listed in 17 entries:

                  276 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

                  1. chefhound RE: Charles Yu Sep 8, 2009 03:20 PM

                    Charles, while I totally respect your opinions and have never been sorry trying one of your recommendations, I have to say, I found Torito to be no better than average. Maybe it was just bad luck - we went on the Friday before the Labour Day holiday - so maybe the chef wasn't there but the food was just ok.

                    We had the chestnut and chorizo soup, potato tortilla, ceviche, quail w/pomegranate, piquillo peppers, tongue & cheek, smoked trout potato salad, grilled sardines, steak w/egg and chocolate flan.

                    The majority of the food was good - not wow but good. The standouts for me were the tortilla, quail and steak. Still not rave-about-it delicious but solid. I was excited by the tongue and cheek and was terribly disappointed. There was very little flavour. The meat was tender but there was no sauce or spice or anything. It was like it was boiled and then served. Did they forget the sauce?

                    Anyway, we had a decent time but the food was not what I expected from reading this thread. I have to say my experiences at Cava (though I haven't been there in a while) have been far superior. Though the churros I had from the stand at Latin Fest were far superior to the ones I had at Cava.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: chefhound
                      Charles Yu RE: chefhound Sep 8, 2009 07:30 PM

                      Holy Cow!! Sounded you ate at a totally different restaurant!! The 'wow factor' of the tongue and cheek dish comes from their uber delicious and aromatic sauce!! My friend from California who just recently ate at a few Michelin star restaurants including FL was so impressed by it that she ordered an extra dish and bread just for the sauce alone! May be they indeed forgot the sauce?! Kind of strange though, considering that dish had been in their menu for years and was even praised by Chatto!

                      1. re: Charles Yu
                        chefhound RE: Charles Yu Sep 9, 2009 01:01 PM

                        It seems like they did forget the sauce. The dish I got had a piece of tongue and a piece of cheek. There were a few tiny carrot bits (brunoise) and a bit of liquid (seemed just like whatever was scooped up when the meat was removed from the pot) but no actual sauce. Too bad. I wish I had know and asked about the sauce.

                      2. re: chefhound
                        JonasBrand RE: chefhound Sep 8, 2009 09:26 PM

                        I also have experienced Torito's inconsistency...

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