I organized a NYC dim sum and tapas tasting for my girlfriends and watched the expansion and blossoming of palates in a single day...I felt like a superhero! This must be what chefs feel like everyday...lucky guys!
|Me and the girls at Park Bar 10th Ave with awaiting our Toro resies over rye and Sangria|
I had to check out Toro NYC as its Boston location is one of my favorites and so are Chefs Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer!
You can read my two reviews of Toro Boston here and here.
You can read my two reviews of Toro Boston here and here.
Toro serves Barcelona tapas in far western Chelsea. It's sexy, grounded space seats 120 beneath 18 foot windows- a food photographer's dream!
With much more space in comparison to the Boston site, Toro NYC presents an intimate setting with sexy dim lighting, slick, earth-toned surfaces of wood and granite, glass and metal. This portion of the old Nabisco factory's space has a stark contrast to building neighbor Del Poso by Tom Colicchio (of brilliant restaurateur and Top Chef fame), but only in appearance, not quality of class. It's smooth tops versus white tablecloths. The quality of food is parallel, though the styles very different and leading in its own lane.
|Photo credit: Missy H.|
We were greeted by kind, smiling faces, including Andrew and other fabulous front of the housers.
La plancha is near the rear of the space with seats to allow for up close observation of the magic created by Chef de cuisine, Charlie Trotter and staff. This area abutts a gorgeous vined green wall nestles in the far left corner.
|Photo credit: http://gothamist.com/2013/09/23/boston_chefs_open_toro_a_barcelona-.php#photo-1|
The seasonal resurrection of ingredients highlighted by server Josh, who would explain the entire prep from farm to table and its flavor profile of each dish if allowed. He's just that excited about the food that he's been charged to present- and rightfully so.
He tells us of his relatively recent shellfish allergy revelation after having eaten at Toro during training. I found this a bit curious, and so did Hadiyyah- our youngest Foodie Day participant- who said, " It's so strange that He's an adult and just realized his shellfish allergy." Josh proceeded to tell us that he's originally from Colorado and us bay and port lifelong dwellers instantly and shamefully forgave him without judgement.
Now that I think of it, his discover of shellfish allergies was definitely better than the one that my mother told me...she was on a date...there was eyeball swelling...and a closed throat. Enough said!
After an earlier dim sum feast at Nom Wah in the belly of Chinatown at the oldest dim sum tea parlor in NYC, a stroll and L'Arte del Gelato on the High Line, and a sip or two of rye whisky and red sangria at Park Bar 10th Ave , I was desperately craving a dry cava to feed my Veuve Cliquot hangover and hair-of-a-bigger-dog vodka martini once I landed in NY.
We ended up ordering a bottle of a lovely, dry cranberry and blackberry noted Spanish sparkling rosé: Joseph Foraster Rosé, Trepat Penedes, Spain.
I was excited to see a few of Toro Boston's staples (and general Spanish tapas' staples) on the menu, especially the Maiz Asado con Alioli y Queso Cotilja, Pimientos Del Padron, Gambas Al Ajillo, and Asado De Huesos.
New to my palate was the tuna tartare (with everything the kitchen loves)- a fatty, garlicky, rich, and mildly spicy raw tuna glorified by the aforementioned rosé.
After the smiles induced by the delicate tuna tartare, we moved on to several more well executed dishes and few that missed the mark in only small components.
The Morcilla con Habas (lamb and pork blood sausage with fava bean stew), courtesy of the chef, was a lovely bite. Crisp, juicy, beautifully deep burgundy colored morsels atop bright fava and smooth sheep's milk, house-whipped ricotta.
|Morcilla con Habas (lamb and pork blood sausage with fava bean stew) with sheep's milk ricotta|
Unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to sample the pretty hamburguesas with tomato jam and pickled red onion, but the table gave them a clear thumbs up!
|Hamburguesas with tomato jam and pickled red onion|
The Panceta de Cerdo (pork belly) was amazingly moist and fork tender in the center with crisped outer fatty layer. It was sadly paired with bland, but crisp triangles of green tomato, both served over a mild, unremarkable smear of yellow curry aioli and adjacent to a green tomato relish. A lovely presentation, yet the pork was definitely the only star on the dish.
|Panceta de Cerdo (pork belly) with crisp triangles of green tomato served over a yellow curry aioli|
In keeping with the East Indian flavor theme, the Mollejas (grilled veal sweetbreads with celeriac, cardamom honey, pickled lime, cashews, cilantro, and mint).
A colorful dish of tender sweetbreads and magnificently layered flavors.
|Mollejas (grilled veal sweetbreads with celeriac, cardamom honey, pickled lime, cashews, cilantro, and mint)|
Wishing it were served warm, the Corazón (smoked beef heart) was sliced roast been thin and served atop toast and a thick Romesco sauce.
|Corazón (smoked beef heart) was sliced roast been thin and served atop toast Romesco sauce|
At this point, we began to realize, but not regret, the richness of our meal. We moved on to the Asado de Huesos (roasted bone marrow with radish citrus salad and beef cheek marmalade). A phenomenal bite of warm gelatinous bone marrow smeared on toast and topped with a perfect addition of acid from the mandarin and grapefruit, finished with tender shreds of juicy beef cheeks and sprinkle of smoked paprika.
|Asado de Huesos (roasted bone marrow with radish citrus salad and beef cheek marmalade)|
In keeping with our organ meats and rich offals, the Foie gras y melocotón (pan-seared foie gras with smoked peaches, whiskey gastrique, and hazelnuts) was definitely in order. I'm very much into sour, sweet, and crunchy with foie gras. I can say that the pickled, grilled peaches was wonderfully different...'tis the season!
|Foie gras y melocotón (pan-seared foie gras with smoked peaches, whiskey gastrique, and hazelnuts)|
The absolute bite highlight was the uni spoon...loaded with cool, creamy uni, caviar, a quail egg, and Iberico ham crumble.
|Uni, caviar, a quail egg, and Iberico ham|
My face before the uni spoon:
My face after the uni spoon:
How was your experience at Toro NYC? Leave a comment in the box below!