Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sibling Adventures in Beantown—Part Two: Bravo, Toro

My last night in Boston, I forced my sister and her husband back to the South End. I’d read about Toro, a little tapas place there, and it was one of two places I put on my must do list for the weekend. So glad I insisted. It was a decent wait, but we killed the time over a cocktail at Stella a few blocks down, a little neighborhood bistro where I would most definitely claim a regular seat at the bar if I lived in the ‘hood. My sister and I took our time over a Fresca (me) and Bellini (her) while the boys went back to claim our table. By the time we sat down, they had our first round of plates on the way and we made our way through a little feast:
  • Gambas al Ajillo (grilled shrimp)

  • Maíz Asado con Alioli y Queso Cotija (grilled corn with aioli and cheese)

  • Patatas Bravas (potatoes with alioli and spicy tomato sauce)

  • Coliflor a la Plancha (basically just grilled cauliflower, but crunchy and superbly seasoned

  • Tortilla Espanola (egg, potato and onion omelet with aioli—my boyfriend swears this dish executed well is a sign of a good tapas place)

  • Escalivada Catalana (roasted eggplant, onions, peppers, and tomatoes with sherry vinegar

  • Mussels with chorizo (enough said)

  • Pan con Tomate (toasted bread rubbed with tomato, garlic, Spanish olive oil and sea salt

  • Churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce (yes we apparently still had room for dessert)

Everything was incredibly tasty. Except the eggplant which we ordered for my sister, who’s a vegetarian, and I think really wanted to like the last mushy dish but couldn’t.

But the two standouts were the shrimp and the corn. The shrimp came in a creamy saffron sauce. I wanted to drink that sauce. I think I took half of it as my own and probably dipped about a quarter of a loaf of ciabatta in the remainder when all the shrimp was gone. And the corn is apparently a house specialty. It was served on the cob with a little char. Drenched in an aioli and then sprinkled with peppers and cheese. Aioli and cheese on corn? Um, yes please. I squeezed a wedge of lime on mine to help cut the richness and didn’t even care that I was licking my fingers in public. I washed the whole meal down with a glass of sparkling rose….utter ambrosia.

The space itself was dimly lit, with chalkboard menus, walls of wine and a fun, good looking crowd. It was fairly affordable, and I begged my sister and her husband to make it part of their regular rotation so I can sleep at night knowing that saffron sauce isn’t going to waste.

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