Ken Oringer’s restaurant, Toro Boston, first opened in Boston’s South End in 2005. Despite being open for more than a decade, getting a seat at this casual dining Spanish tapas restaurant can be tough to put it mildly so it has been a while since my last visit. However, Toro occasionally has deals on Gilt City Boston so we purchased an 8-course dinner with wine pairings for two.
I’m happy to write Toro Boston continues to tempt with uniquely delicious dishes and a lively vibe most restaurants would die to have even for just one night a week. Our eight course tasting created by our very able, friendly and not to mention handsome waiter, Jesse, was so delicious that I’ll be thinking about it for weeks to come.
Our server started our meal with lighter, refreshing seafood plates that included local oysters with fennel and lemon juice, offering a nice texture and burst of citrus. Sergio even tried it (his first time eating an oyster) and gave it a thumbs up. Following the oysters we were treated to tuna tartare served in what looked like a small anchovy tin. It was served with a green curry, red onions and shallots. However, it was a new dish that Toro had added that day which I really loved – fluke crudo with white soy sauce. It was paired with the Portuguese wine, Nortico Alvarinho 2014, (one of my favorite wines that night), which is very affordable and worth buying if you see it in your local wine shop.
Two more seafood options followed. First, fried cod tempora croquettes with aioli. I really enjoyed these but Sergio’s response made me laugh, “everything fried tastes good.” Both of us preferred the next plate, Spanish octopus served with olive tapenade, orange, potatoes, and saffron aioli. The seared flavors permeated the meat, making each bite taste better than the last.
Jesse’s next few plates were some of the most flavorful vegetable plates I’ve had in recent memory, starting with roasted pumpkin that had been cooked with maple syrup and was served with squash, wild mushrooms and topped with a liberal helping of pine nut muhammara on grilled lettuce. It struck me as a plate you’d be more likely to see in the fall. I preferred the next course which was braised mushrooms in a broth with herbs and an egg yolk in a spoon. That was just so damn good with the runny yolk of the egg coating the mushrooms.
The final few plates started with seared foie gras, which is the first time I’ve ever tried it and left me thinking “what’s all the hype about?”. The next two plates however more than made up for my lackluster response. Hanger steak with an onion marmalade and blue cheese butter followed by smoked duck drumettes with a quince glaze. These last two dishes were hearty, flavorful and in the case of the duck, finger-lickin’ good. The smoked duck, octopus and steak proved to be our most favorite plates so if you find yourself at Toro in the coming weeks, try one of the plates we did and let me know what you think.
1704 Washington Street