Toro Toro - Pan Latin Steakhouse Grabs the Bull by the Horns

Richard Sandoval's newest creation, Toro Toro, to open this weekend to hungry crowd!

Posted on Friday, 04/04/2014
By:Rocksario Garcia

With a brother and sister in Dubai and Miami respectively, Toro Toro, comes to DC to join Richard Sandoval's full culinary assault of the DC metro area and joins its cousins: El Centro DF (reigning king in hip Mexican cuisine), Zengo (Fusion Asian cuisine), and Masa 14 (Latin Asian small plates).  Toro Toro fills a need to create a fusion of Pan Latin steakhouses (think Brazilian and Argentine churrasquerias) full with servers delivering sizzling skewers of perfectly grilled meats (a majority of which are locally raised) and also featuring dozens of small hot and cold shareable plates.  The idea of shareable plates is not new as most restaurants look to cater to large groups that want to fill up on drinks and dance the night away in a dark steamy bar 'til the wee hours of the night.  But I digress.

Toro Toro fits the bill.  Nestled centrally between 13th and 14th Street on 1300 I (Eye) Street, NW, DC near Metro Center and McPherson Square, this 12,000 square foot space screams elegance, rustic, and chic in one fell swoop, and is likely to become a favorite happy-hour spot for many professionals not wanting to make the trek down to the crowded U street scene. 

Toro Toro offers some tasty libations, and in the name of research I partook in a deliciously mixed Pisco Sour (that was just the right amount of sour) and definitely not short on the Pisco.

Pisco Sour - Toro Toro
Why oh why are you not bottomless, Pisco Sour.

Since my partner in crime, Sarah Barrie and I (look for Sarah's full review and article on Toro Toro in the May edition of Kesta Magazine) were hungry and were instructed by our lovely host to "try everything".... we did.  Among the most memorable pieces in a table brimming with the most amazing food we each had our favorites.

Potato Sushi Cake - Toro Toro
Potato Sushi Cake - a.k.a. Best invention since sushi.

One thing we both agreed on and both LOVED was something that was described as a "Potato Sushi Cake".  The official name is "Causa Toro Toro" made up of tuna tartare, and rocoto aioli served on top of a purple potato cake (heaven) and topped with avocado and sesame seed. Oh. my. god.  The tangy deliciousness of the tuna with the creamy purple potatoes topped with the refreshing avocado were nirvana in my mouth.  I wish this was bottomless too!

Lomo Saltado Empanada - Toro Toro
This iPhone pic does not do this Lomo Saltado Empanada ANY justice...

This was my second favorite.  The steam that burst out of the juicy Lomo Saltado empanada as you cut through the flakey crust was enough to make you stop in mid-conversation to take a whiff of the amazing steam as it floated in the air and directly into your brain.  I loved this empanada so much I would go back just for these two dishes alone.

We also tried the "Cachapas" dish which consists of duck carnitas, topped with a corn pancake, oaxaca cheese, and tomato jam.  I must say I'm not a huge fan of duck, but this dish is definitely worth a look.

The smokey guacamole which is served with plantain chips was a nice twist to the traditional guacamole thanks to the added smokeyness of the chipotle chilis and the sweetness of the plaintain chips.

Guacamole - Toro Toro

Not wanting to disappoint our readers, Sarah and I agreed to each try an entree (we did not have room to try the "Rodizio Experience" which features unlimited supplies of seven types of meat carved tableside by one of their floating "meat men").  Although we did stop one of them for a picture.

Churrasco - Toro Toro
How you doin' Toro Toro Churrasco man?

Instead I opted for the Ribeye Steak with a side of Oaxaca Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Sarah ordered the Chilean Sea Bass which was accompanied by shrimp, scallops, calamari, cau cau sauce, and mint leaves.

The Steak arrived in a sizzling hot skillet plate along with the creamy potatoes.  I must say as a native Mexican, I loved that the Oaxaca cheese potatoes were served in a traditional ceramic pot, however, I did wish there was more Oaxaca cheese in them (then again, I'm of the persuasion that you can never have too much cheese).  The steak was so tender, juicy and delicious it was gone faster than you could say Ribeye.

Ribeye - Toro Toro

Sarah offered me some of her flakey soft Sea Bass which was beautiful in both presentation and taste.  If you are a fish fan, you have got to try this! (Picture coming soon...)

When our very attentive server offered us dessert, Sarah in the name of research, convinced me we needed to try at least one dessert. 

Sarah Barrie
This was Sarah persuading me to partake in the dessert menu with her...

There was alot to choose from including something called "La Bomba" which is an ice cream "bomb" that is reportedly tossed directly onto your tabletop exploding the cream cheese mousse, passionfruit sorbet, chocolate cookie crumbs, strawberries and cream, dulce de leche ice cream filling to be devoured by your party.  Our brimming tummies did not let us entertain the thought of the bomba so instead we opted for a more traditional dessert. 

This turned out to be a very deconstructed version of the very popular dessert. Here's a pic, I'll leave you guessing as to what this actually is.

Dessert - Toro Toro
Dessert surprise at Toro Toro - hmmmm what is it?

Although Toro Toro will have your insides dancing with the delicious food, they also want you to get your groove on with some real dancing in their underground DJ lounge.  Here they will host their official opening party on Saturday April 5th with Puerto Rican house DJ and producer, Robbie Rivera.

The celebration starts at 10pm and goes on til 3am on Sat, April 5th, tickets are available in advance for $30 here: http://robbierivera.wantickets.com/Events/153228/ROBBIE-RIVERA-TORO-TORO-GRAND-OPENING/

So grab the bull by the horns and visit this new DC Pan-Latin steakhouse and be the first to experience this new delicious concept.  For hours of operation and more news including the buzz surrounding the upcoming brunch menu, visit: http://www.richardsandoval.com/torotorodc/

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