Toro tapas bar is cool, calm and collected in restaurant form. The design is classy and understated, with various styles of seating in different areas of the restaurant. It all comes together nicely to create a chic ambiance.
We visited on a Wednesday evening and as luck would have it, Toro offers a small menu of $6 tapas plus half off bottles of wine on Wednesdays! Cheers! In the spirit of traditional tapas, we wanted to try as many dishes as possible. (Always my goal one way or the other) The server told us upfront that this was not exactly like a tapas bar straight out of Spain. The dishes may be larger and it’s not necessary to order several for a couple people. However, the dishes are brought out as they are ready and are meant to be shared with the group, in authentic Spanish style.
Now, if you’re looking for food you would find in Barcelona, Sevilla or Madrid… you’d better keep looking. The food is good, but the dishes are not reminiscent of traditional tapas that you might find overseas. I saw some chorizo meat balls ($12) and Paella ($46, serves 2-3 people). That was as close as I came to the real deal. Truthfully, I was hoping to see something along the lines of patatas bravas, a bikini sandwich, pintxos or espinacas con garbanzos.
From the $6 Wednesday menu, we ordered Braised Chicken with peppers and couscous paprika jus, Veal Meatballs with semolina spaetzle and tomato-parmesan sauce, and Seared Sea Scallop with vanilla scented sweet potato puree and cider butter. The latter was a very interesting dish with sweet flavors that went fantastically with a perfectly cooked scallop. I fully recommend trying it. Each of these tapas were tasty, smaller than the normal menu portions which was disclosed to us upfront and again, not having much to do with traditional tapas cuisine.
We also enjoyed the Tuna Package from the regular menu- rare with crispy panko crust & cherry-chipotle BBQ sauce. The tuna was delicious, prepared just as described and sitting in a bed of heat. When I say heat, I mean it. I would have loved to devour the remains of the “sauce” but it had too much of a kick to go at it alone. The cherries were intact and mixed well with the chipotle BBQ to form a compote. Excellent. The rest of the regular tapas menu did not command my attention. There seemed to be quite a few safe dishes from different cuisines – not all that exciting. One that I would come back to try is the Bison Quesadilla with poblanos, jack cheese, charred tomato salsa & cilantro cream ($17).
We did not indulge in alcoholic beverages although I’m sure it would have added dimension to the meal. The wine list offers roughly 13 wines by the glass ranging from $6-$8 from Spain, South America, the US and other European countries. Wines by the bottle (half off on Wednesdays) range from $23-$54 and include about 50 bottles, some from the states and others imported mostly from Spain and other parts of Europe. The cocktail menu has over 10 drinks at $9, including Nicks Nastyini – Skyy raspberry vodka, Pinnacle vanilla vodka, raspberry liqueur, cranberry juice and pineapple juice.
Overall, I enjoyed Toro- the ambiance, design of the restaurant and the food. However, I would not recommend Toro to a food lover looking for the tapas they once loved in Spain. It is a difficult task to recreate authentic Spanish culture in a dish.
Note: There isn’t a picture of the Scallop because we were hungry and forgot. Oops!
492 Elmwood Ave Buffalo NY
Closed Monday, Open daily at 5pm
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