Review: Touro Old Saybrook, CT--PLEASE TRY IT
1333 Boston Post Rd
Old Saybrook, CT 06475
I know there was another review of Touro some topics back, but I figured another report might deserve its own thread. I went last night with the wife for 7:30pm dinner. It's a quaint little place--if you choose to come to dinner here, you may consider reservations. Very clean. Good wine selection. My wife had a red sangria, which she loved. The menu is intimate, but the offerings on it sounded wonderful. We opted to try the rodizio.
For the uninitiated, the rodizio meals here comprise of three side dishes accompanied by various grilled meats that are brought to your table. They give the table a piece of wood painted red and green on either end. You flip to green when you want more food, you flip to red when you want a pause in your meal. I was worried that my wife and I wouldn't be able to keep up with the bringing of the food, but it seemed to work just fine.
For sides, my wife ordered the black beans, yellow rice, and the mixed vegetables. I must say that the beans were not seasoned at all---which we found weird because everything else was very well seasoned. That being said, my wife would just order a different side instead of the beans next time. I had the collard greens (sauteed with onions, garlic and red pepper and probably a few other seasonings I didn't pick up) fried mashed potato (its really cute--it comes out looking like an egg roll dusted with panko), and my favorite central/south american side, plantains. All my sides were excellent. I must say that it took a while for our sides to come out of the kitchen--more on this later.
Shortly after the sides hit the table, the rodizio started. Up first was a roast chicken leg, very well done, but somewhat not special. Next, I believe was linguica (kind of tastes like kolbasi if you've never had it--very good), a piece of chicken kabob that was marinated in a lime based marinade, roast chicken wrapped in bacon, top sirloin (this was one of the higher points of the meal and I was surprised how well they did it because sirloin can be very tough. This was grilled PERFECTLY). Following that were a few grilled, dry rubbed pork ribs--perfectly cooked--not falling off the bone (I like a little substance to my ribs if they're not smoked and barbecued). Next was lamb---and let me tell you, it was the best lamb I've EVER EATEN. I made a roast lamb for this year's Easter and my family RAVED over it; well, I have to say, Touro's lamb surpasses my own. The marinade (and perhaps a sneaky dry rub too) just permeated the meat--heavy on the rosemary and balsamic vinegar, I think. I might add, this is probably very close to the same recipe I use myself, but again, the flavorings here were just so much stronger. I could have just eaten the lamb and my sides and would have been very happy indeed. Next out of the kitchen came beef tenderloin (a bit stringy, actually but tasty), and grilled pineapple to cap off the meal. I'm sure I missed a dish in there somewhere.
All the food was top notch, and I'd come here again in a heartbeat. I repeat, I will return, and in future visit I'll order the rodizio again.
The downside--the rodizio is expensive, as I reported in another thread, it is 28 dollars per person (we happened to have a coupon). However, for what you get, and IF YOU'RE HUNGRY determines its worth. I may not get the rodizio next time depending on how hungry I am or if I just want to dabble in other parts of the menu--it's nice to have options :) I particularly want to try the feijoada. Look this up if you don't know what it is ;)
I found it awkward (I am a rodizio noob) to ask for more sides--this also comes with the 'terms' of the meal. I was hesitant because of how long they took to come out of the kitchen initially. I would also suggest that when the waiter comes around with a skewer of meat and you want more, don't be shy to ask him right then and there. Trust me, you'll thank me later.
While heavy on the meats, this is also a place where you can eat healthy--dieters, I think you'll do OK.
Another plus, the owner (presumably) came out at the end of the meal to ask us how everything was. He would have liked to take a picture, but we are photo shy and declined. I did tell him that I'd share my culinary findings and thus, my lengthy report. It's well deserved--please give it a try--it's different--it's delicious--it's TOURO and it receives my highest praises.
We went to Touro on Saturday night with another couple and I can confirm everything "stormshadow" has described with considerably more emphasis on the attentive service, gracious staff and some of the best food any of us have had on the shoreline or elsewhere, for that matter. My wife and I are "foodies" and have dined at some of the finest restaurants there are and I can say with a straight face, the food at Touro is as good as it gets. We were so taken back by the taste and quality of the food, we inquired about the chef. Within a few minutes, the chef showed up at our table! It's no wonder the food was good -- his resume is impressive: Saybrook Point Inn, all of the Boom's and an international internship.
We all had rodizio, but I must confess the remainder of the menu looked very enticing with a lot of variety. Some of us had a Caipirinha and it was the real thing and very well prepared. Since it was the birthday of a person in our party, we were offered another round at the end of dinner as a birthday surprise! Being foodies, we paid close attention to the wine list which is exceptional and has reasonably priced quality selections, including many offerings by the glass. With a full bar, one can have most any cocktail including their house specialties.
Although $28 for the radizio sounds somewhat expensive, it is very reasonable given the quality and never ending offering of delectable delights from the rotisserie. It's worth repeating, the meats were cooked perfectly, even with a second or third round, and surprisingly flavorful.
Not only are we going back, but it's only been two days and I'm already planning the next visit! This is truly a shoreline hidden treasure that shouldn't be missed.
Although I posted that Touro was opening in early July, it took me until November to convince DW that we ought to try it...now we're both glad we did.
They have remodeled the old Fogo location in a sort of rustic manner, oil lamps and candles on the tables, fake wooden beams, a sort of maroon decor and black tablecloths. Both the maitre-d and the waitress were quite friendly and informative. After we ordered, they immediately supplied some thin but crunchy slices of bread and chimichurri sauce (olive oil, garlic, parsley/cilantro, etc) that was a step above just the olive oil you get in Italian cafes nowadays. They have a modest but fairly comprehensive wine list...I had a glass of a nice pinot noir.
My wife looked over the dozen or so entree's, and opted for the Brazilian Jeijoada(sp?), a sort of black bean/pork stew that comes with a side dish heaped with things like rice, egg, fried plantains and radishes that you can add to the stew or eat separately. Of course I had to go for the traditional Rodizio, a variation on the service at Brazilian Churrascarias restaurants. It starts with a huge mixed salad, piled high on a dinner plate. (My dressing container had a big chunk of blue cheese still in it.) Seeing I only finished half of it, my waitress offered to box the rest to take home. You also get your choice of three side dishes, I picked the black beans (couldn't let DW suffer alone!), mixed seasonal veggies and mashed potatoes (with a hint of garlic): all were good. But the focus is on meat. They started me off with big chunks of chicken, spiced Moraccan pork and a crunchy chipotle sausage (all quite tasty), and then every five minutes or so brought around a spit with another kind of meat and offered to slice off a hunk (they give you a tweezer to catch it as the waitress slices). I had to pass up a couple of rounds (they didn't have the traditional red/green card to tell when you wanted more) but I sampled the top sirloin (with white pepper crust) and the lamb. Both were excellent and varied between medium rare and medium. (Tip: take most of the chicken and pork home with your salad and concentrate on the beef and lamb!)
We both went home stuffed with boxes of take out. I was so full I had to pass up the usual last round of pineapple. If you are not very hungry, you can order Rodizio with just one or two meats at a lower price. Although the prices are $$+, we were quite satisfied with our evening and will recommend Touro to our friends (especially if they are meat lovers!).
(I hope this gets through. CH crashed while I was in the middle of entering this the first time. I hope it wasn't because it couldn't parse the Portuguese!)
have to give this place a shout out too. I have eaten rodizio several times in many places in the US & internationally - and this place was very good. It wasn't the best rodizio I've ever had but I was very impressed with the quality of the meats presented and how well each was cooked.
We were a party of 8 and enjoyed excellent capirinhas, all of us did the rodizio. ($28) it included 3 types of beef, 2 chicken, lamb, sausage & ribs. All were delicious - 3 sides per person (fried yuca, beans & rice, fried plantains, steamed veggies, mashed sweet potatoes etc) were included and a finale of grilled pineapple.
all of us left full and happy and will return again. Touro is a very welcome addition to the shoreline dining scene.