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Toro - Review - a couple hits and couple awful misses

s
Simon Jan 6, 2014 03:16 PM

Went there on the blizzard night last week, figuring the weather would cancel some of the effects of Wells' review...which worked out -- we went in around 6pm and got a nice table on the elevated area w/ nice views of the snow...

Overall though, i was unimpressed by the food...we had:

-- bacalao croquettes...these were awful...dry and unseasoned inside, slightly burnt outside...my friend ate one but said it tasted like bad fast food...i couldn't finish mine...

-- mushrooms w/ egg yolk...quite yummy, one of the better dishes and nicely herby w/ all the parsley...for 16 dollars for a side dish, it better be...

-- shishito peppers...also good...more oily than any version i've ever had, but i like olive oil so i was fine with them...i suspect many people would find them greasy...

-- mackeral tartar...i liked this too...i rather hate the little joke of serving fresh raw mackeral in an empty tin, but the fish was chunky and delicious...but like the mushrooms, a bit overpriced: 15 dollars for a few bites...exquisite mackeral sushi is available all around town for half the price and not served in an old tin can...

-- paella w/ rabbit and snail...embarassingly awful...canned tomato puree, improperly cooked rice, no seasoning at all...the waitress happened to stop by after we'd had a the first bite of two, and we eagerly accepted her offer to send it back...in my book, any restaurant that sends out a dish that lame, i'm done with...it tastes like a first-time cook's complete fail of an attempt at paella...i was really shocked that the restaurant could send out a dish this bad...

Wine options are yummy and interesting (e.g. a mencia from a region not known for mencia, a solid rosado that fits the menu, etc).

Staff were extremely nice; very good service overall.

And, as Wells mentioned, the giant airplane hangar of a room isn't all that comfy...i think i went on the best night possible: not too crowded, w/ a beautiful view of the snow...but on a crowded night, i think it'd be far less pleasant...

If i happened to be nearby during off-hours or foul weather, i might be tempted to grab a drink and snack at the bar and give it another chance...but with 2 out of 5 dishes so terrible on the first try, i may never be back...

  1. s
    Simon Jan 6, 2014 03:19 PM

    oh, we also had the prawns, 19 bucks for 3...some succulent meat in them, but a lot of tough shell that sat on the border of edible/inedible...sort of the middling dish of the night...

    1. t
      thegforceny Jan 6, 2014 05:08 PM

      I found the two things I ordered delicious: bone marrow and the cauliflower. I liked the wine list by the bottle but the wine by the glass list was poor for such a vast menu. Where were the Bierzos? Jumillas?

      1 Reply
      1. re: thegforceny
        s
        Simon Jan 6, 2014 09:00 PM

        i forgot about the cauliflower - we had that too...very bland the night we had it (no anchovy at all, and i don't even remember tasting a pine nut nor a raisin either)...

      2. b
        barberinibee Jan 7, 2014 12:14 AM

        Any chance the blizzard left the kitchen without key staff and fresh tomatoes for the puree? Just a thought.

        3 Replies
        1. re: barberinibee
          s
          Simon Jan 7, 2014 08:37 AM

          i doubt it -- the blizzard was just in its first hr when we arrived so no reason the kitchen would be unstocked w/ food...but sure, anything is possible...

          1. re: Simon
            b
            barberinibee Jan 7, 2014 09:22 AM

            Where do they get fresh tomatoes in January and how far do the highest paid people in the kitchen need to go to get home after the place closes?

            I'm not saying it is a good restaurant (have no idea) or that you got a good meal and just didn't realize it (far from it). But personally, I wouldn't expect fresh tomatoes in January at any good restaurant in the northern hemisphere. That doesn't excuse using poor quality canned tomato puree if that's what happened, but if you eat paella in Spain in January, the chances of a good restaurant serving you one made with fresh tomatoes are fairly close to zero.

            1. re: barberinibee
              s
              Simon Jan 7, 2014 03:50 PM

              true, the canned/not-canned isn't the issue (high quality tomato from jar would have been fine)...the issue was that it was bad and unseasoned...

              re: chefs and where they live and far they have to get home in the snow: i can only assume if they chose to remain open and serve paella that costs 34 bucks for a smaller portion, and 60-something for a large portion, they'd have the good sense to have someone in the kitchen who has a vague clue how to cook it, or failing that, someone who knows how to taste it and determine that it needs to 86'd for the night (on the off chance that your scenario of "the one person who knows how to cook paella in a 100+ seat restaurant ran home before the blizzard started" was in fact what happened -- but that seems unlikely)

        2. p
          Pookipichu Jan 7, 2014 09:53 AM

          16 dollars for an egg and mushrooms? Was it a big portion or was there something special about it that merited the price?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Pookipichu
            s
            Simon Jan 7, 2014 12:40 PM

            medium-sized portion, tasty, but nothing wildly notable about it :)

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