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Restaurants & Bars 1

4/16/08 Toro Report: Tapas Loud and Lively

opinionatedchef | Apr 17, 200809:50 PM

We were relieved to not have to stand in line as we arrived sans-reservations last night at 7:30 and were seated at the last available table. "The joint was jumpin' "as is the norm there.
This place is a perfect example of the belief that " people love to be crowded." The aisles are almost as narrow as airplane aisles; the tables are a maximum of 12" apart, and I have never eaten anywhere louder in my life. Of course, we already knew it would be like that, but, boy, it was even louder than I remembered. Then again, it's not angry loudness but the loudness of happy campers.

As is our norm, we ordered alot. This time, I had the foresight to ask the waiter for a particular order of dishes, so that we would not repeat the 'everything came at once' experience of our last visit.

Foie gras w/blood orange puree- generous portion, rich, unctuous, punctuated w/ the citrus and sweet. For perfection, it would be less sweet, but I did enjoy it.

Atun Crudo- the one Asian departure from the Spanish menu. Generous portion of squares of raw tuna in a citrus soy sesame oil . What really elevated this dish was the textural contrast of the silky tuna with the sprinkling of various salt crystals and pepper-related grains.

Escalivada- seriously must be the best roasted eggplant/tomato/red pepper dish in town.

Smoked Beef Tongue w/ Lentils and Salsa Verde- so rich but piquant; great textural

Bacalao Fritters w/ deep fried lemon rings- add a lot of squeezed lemon and I'm happy.

Table Butter- sprinkled with different grains of salts

Crema Catalana dessert- perfect creamy, touch of lemon. Refreshing actually.

Sangria- One of only two excellent sangrias I have had in the U.S. No fizzy watering down club soda; the right balance of wine and fruit elements; good depth of flavor. A bit steep -$24 for a pitcher which was about 3 full glasses- but it's hard to complain when it's a rare find.

Crummy soft flavorless table bread. Why? Seriously, the money is obviously rolling into this place; they really should afford to give us the Iggy's or Clearflour.......

Short Ribs with Armagnac Prunes - too sweet

Rabbit w/ carrot marmalade- too sweet

Chicken w/ Sherry- very little evidence of the sherry glaze whose punch was badly needed.However, the nutty farro was a treat.

Didn't bother ordering the out-of-season corn that would delight me in summer but not in winter(lesson learned in Dec.)

Next time I hope to get the Shrimp and the Chickpeas dishes and the paella. But I'm going to stay away from Meat dishes with sweet elements because I think they overdo it on the sweet. I'm sure the dishes are authentic; they reflect the influence of Moorish cuisine; but the balance just isn't to my taste.

Service was very good but this time our waiter was not food knowledgable.

Look forward to going back, maybe when a new menu comes onboard.

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