Friday, February 22, 2008

Restaurant Review: Toro Bravo!

Bravo! Spanish "tapas" at Portland's best last night with friends Brian and Maddie as we checked out the newest culinary extravagance, NE Portland's Toro Bravo.

Despite a 90 minute wait at 6:30 on a Thursday night (they do not take reservations) our meal was one of the best I have had at a PDX restaurant in a long time (and yes....we have not been out for a while).

The restaurant is small, intimate and simple with shared tables (which we enjoyed...nice to find out what your neighbor just ordered). Earthy decor with a boisterous feel aided by hip music pulsating in the background.

I found the menu to be inventive and seemed to center around seasonal, local produce. Tapas or “small plates” is the best way to experience more of the menu. We each ordered 2-3 plates and passed them around the table.

This is what we ate:
Toasted Almonds in Sea Salt
Sherry Chicken Live Mousse*
Spicy Octopus & Calamari Stew
Sauteed Hedge Hog Mushrooms on Griddled Bread
Baked Polenta with Roast Beef, Peppers and Onions
Oxtail Croquettes with Spice roasted chili mayo
Griddle Shrimp with Chilies*
Smoked Pork on grilled bread with celery root salad*
Whole Petrale Sole with capers, olives, lemon & Roasted Garlic
Meatballs with tomato-almond sauce and heirloom carrots
House Smoked Coppa Steak with Olive Oil Poached Potatoes
Dessert: Crepes with Lemon curd and Almond Ice Cream with a shot of espresso

Note: The items I put an asterisk next to were my favs!

The food comes at you much so that you become lost in a culinary maze. The fusion of taste is overwhelming so pace yourself. My advice, go back again soon!