“Toro.” Is repeatedly the response I get when I ask friends in the restaurant industry what their favorite spot is in Boston. “And, OHMYGOD, have you been to Toro?” People’s eyes light up with the question. Toro is a tiny South End gem hidden away from the main bustling hub. Its parents are Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette, two of the biggest chef names in the city – downright celebrities if you ask the right people. So, on October 18th, the day of my birth 24 years ago, I woke up, had a minor panic-attack about being “old,” and decided I had to go.
A good restaurant makes new dishes creatively, simple dishes extravagantly tasty, and classic dishes exceed expectations. That’s what Toro did. Everything was flavorful and made that way with real ingredients and unique spices, not by over salting or oiling – a problem I’ve found at other tapas eateries. The menu was attractive, it seemed perfectly varied and everything was appealing. I sometimes find these menus overwhelming because I want to taste the best of everything but I don’t know where to start because I can’t even understand what everything is. But, here the food and cocktail menus were categorized and clear. The cocktails were tantalizing as well, the Hibiscus Margarita I tried particularly so.
Here is classic done right: the Grilled Corn. Other times I’ve tried this signature dish the corn is too hard or the butter too strong or the spices not enough. Like Goldilocks with her porridge, I’ve struggled to find a version of this corn that’s just right. Yes, this was LOADED with cheese and butter sauce, but it was fantastic. Actually, the best I’ve seen in Boston.
Here is new and creative: the Pork. The tangy barbecue-esque sauce mixed perfectly with the sweet potato puree. The meat was cut-with-your-fork tender and the prunes added a bonus to every other bite. A characteristic of many skillfully prepared plates, no two bites were the same.
Here is simple made interesting: the Cauliflower. I easily could’ve eaten the whole bowl by myself. The pine nuts and raisins added an exciting twist and the spice, similar to paprika’s taste, that all the parts were cooked in made it extremely addicting. Cauliflower addicting? Exactly: a job well done.
Here’s another somewhat new one: Salt Cod Fritters. Salt Cod gets its fair share of abuse between spreads and cakes, but cod served as a fritter adds not only a little variety to the fish’s life but a new of presentation for us. And these large egg-shaped beings were a different style of fritter as well. I liked them because there was plenty of cod to go around. Although they were very salty indeed, they paired well with the sweetness of the other dishes on our table. The margaritas paired well with the food, and the whole experienced paired well with my first day as a big twenty-four year old girl in the world. But you don’t have to wait until your next age to go the ‘Best Restaurant in Boston.’ In fact, go right now. The buttery corn is waiting.
1704 Washington St.
South End, MA