Two years ago Wifey and I went to dinner at Toro Bravo and experienced one of the best meals of our lives. For some inexplicable reason we had not been back since. Why? I have no idea. We could blame it on the fact you have to get there early to get a table, which is problematic during the week and not helpful on the weekend. We could blame it on the fact you can't make reservations for just two people.
We could, but really, I don't know why. Today we rectified that...and were rewarded with an absolutely fantastic meal. With minimal commentary, here is Toro Bravo in pictures.
Any meal at Toro must start with these - griddle bacon wrapped dates in honey stuffed with an almond. Just two bites each, these are divine, sweet and savory and crunchy all rolled into the perfect mouthful.
We ordered drinks too, a white wine sangria (with blackberries, blueberries, and orange), and a limoncello drink, with cava and Tosca cherries.
The next plate to come was a fresh empanada stuffed with tomato, ham and corn. This came with a side of greens and pickled onions, plus a mayo-based dipping sauce. The empanada also had spinach inside.
Want to see the inside? Well, here you go:
Yeah, it was also awesome. Great flavors, light crust, and the greens provided a nice palate cleanser.
The next dish was grilled corn with cilantro pesto. It came on the cob, cut into thirds.
Not only was it pretty in the initial presentation, but after slicing the corn off the cob it still looked nice.
The crisp, sweet corn worked fantastic with the cilantro pesto. I could eat a mountain of this.
The last small plate was drunken pork and avocado salad. The pork was wrapped in bacon, making it more awesome, and everything about this dish was just right.
The last dish was the biggest, the paella Toro.
Yep, there is all sorts of fun stuff in there: mussels, clams, shrimp, chorizo, braised chicken, rice, tomatoes, peppers, and even lemon slices. Neither of us had ever eaten paella before - again, I have no idea why - but everything in this plate had great flavor, was cooked perfectly, and it just looks so damn pretty.
We ate everything but couldn't finish off the paella - we had to save room for dessert. We each ordered a dessert. The first to come out was caramel panna cotta. The two layers - both of which are made in house - tasted fantastic on their own and phenomenal together. Panna cotta in general is one of our favorites, but this quite possibly could be the best (our waitress said this was her favorite dessert on their menu) in the entire city.
Our other dessert was the molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. We sat at the chef's counter again this time and could see much of the prep work and cooking - which is fascinating - and the chef closest to us leaned over and placed this before us:
Does it look awesome? Oh it was, it sure was. The gooey insides leaked all over the plate when we cracked it open with a fork, mixing with the cake and the vanilla to make taste buds happy. The chef also made a point of telling us we had chosen well and this was his favorite dessert on their menu.
It's not a cheap meal - $72 plus tip - but with the quality of the food, I really don't care. It was that good.
We will absolutely go back....and it will not take us two years to return. That's a promise.