By Anna Ing, a food aficionado
Toro is a Barcelona-style inspired tapas restaurant nestled in the South End that has garnered countless accolades since 2005. Owner Ken Oringer is a Culinary Institute of America graduate who has consistently served great food from his other restaurants. Toro delivers as a cozy brick neighborhood spot that doesn’t take dinner reservations.
We started with small plates to share. The Corazon a la Plancha, a grass-fed beef heart, was thinly sliced on bread with a decorative dash of romesco (Spanish nut and red pepper sauce) on the plate. The beef heart tasted a little salty, but was similar to pastrami.
Next came the house specialty, Maiz Asado con alioli y Queso Cotija, which is delicious grilled corn slathered with alioli (Catalan for garlic and oil), topped with epelette pepper (French chili pepper) and a sprinkling of aged Mexican Cotija cheese. The cheese added the sweetness of the corn and the alioli bound all the flavors together.
The roasted bone marrow aka Asado de Huesos came with a lovely radish citrus salad and toasted bread, topped with an intense, flavorful braised oxtail marmalade to slather on the marrow.
If you love sea urchin, the Uni Bocadillo is a must have. A pressed sandwich is served with generous amounts of fresh uni, miso butter and pickled seeds. The fresh and intense taste of the sea in the uni was balanced well with the lovely miso butter.
After 20 minutes, our half order of Valencia paella arrived, studded with chorizo, shrimp, mussels, clams and chicken in Calasparra rice, which was a big crowd pleaser. The fresh seafood, tender chicken and flavorful chorizo scored the right balance with the other tapas.
We still had room to try the olive oil-roasted brussels sprouts that rivaled the famous grilled corn. While we had few brussels sprouts fans at the table, the sprouts were seasoned without the usual trace of bitterness.
Everything was washed down with a pitcher of sangria, made with red wine and slices of apple and orange. Dessert was banana bread. The big surprise came when we detected some salt on the banana bread. The subtle salt, smooth cream cheese and sweet banana bread proved to be a delicious combination that ended a great meal. The thoughtful service, bustling crowd, delicious food and excellent company created a wonderful night out.
1704 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118