Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Toro Toro at the Intercontinental Hotel Downtown Miami

For the longest time I had been dying to go to Toro Toro, located at the Intercontinental Hotel in Downtown Miami at 100 Chopin Plaza. It's one of those places I kept running into at events where samples of their dishes were featured,  or got glimpses of their foodporn either on Twitter or Facebook. However, because Miami's food scene has exploded to the point that it can pretty much compete with any of the big wigs when it comes to tantalizing restaurants, sometimes our hit lists grow by the day.

I am happy to say I have popped that cherry. And let me tell you, I will be going back real soon - particularly to try their brunch. Toro Toro is located right off of the lobby at the Intercontinental Hotel, in a trendy, contemporary space featuring dark wood tables, wrought iron accents and leather seating. The ambiance exudes an elegant, upscale feeling without any pretentious stuffiness. Spearheaded by Chef Richard Sandoval and a fantastic team, the restaurant features the finest meats, poultry and seafood, sourced from small, family owned farms in the heartland of America.

My foreplay to the foodgasmic experience about to unfold, was a most refreshing, sweet cocktail that completely awakened my palate. Balanced with the right ratio of alcohol and "oh that's good" ingredients, I sipped away while I looked at the menu we would be enjoying for the evening. The first thing I noticed was that the dishes seemed to combine a variety of Pan Latin flavors in unexpected, creative ways. There was an infusion of different cultures in the food's preparation that added a unique twist to popular dishes.

Heirloom Tomato Salad
We started off with.a refreshing Heirloom Tomato Salad and a Tuna Tataki Salad. The Heirloom Tomato Salad was prepared with creamy burrata, chunks of juicy watermelon, hearts of palm, herbs, avocadoes and then drizzled with chipotle vinaigrette, to give it an awakening kick. It was a phenomenal combination of flavors. The Tuna Tataki Salad brought together a combination of baby greens, spring onion and tasty tuna, and was topped with a lemon wasabi vinaigrette. I was pinching faster than I could swallow. We were definitely off to a great beginning.

Tuna Tataki Salad

Short Rib Arepas
Next up we sampled their Short Rib Arepas, the Cachapas and the Chicharron de Camarones. It was a carnival of Latin American flavors but I'll tell you the Cachapas totally blew me away. They were a palate-pleasing delight of corn pancakes filled with melted cheese and topped with tomato jam. I think I drooled a bit as they dissolved in my mouth. The Short Rib Arepas were mini bowls of corn cakes filled to the brim with the goodness of flavorful short ribs and crowned with a dollop of guacamole and crema fresca.  I know they expect you to share here, but seriously? I don't think so. Which brings me to the Chicharron de Camarones. You know that putting these two words together in one bite has got to amount to something spectacular. Crispy shrimp, aji amarillo, avocado and rocoto mint salsa all came together to officiate a marriage between cultures that completely worked.

Chicharron de Camarones

Arroz Chaufa
Asparagus and Broccolini
Hot off the grill, our entree was a Churrasco Platter that consisted of a well seasoned potpourri of steaks, lamb chops, chorizo and chicken. It was a meat lover's version of paradise. And this dish was served with two sides: Asparagus and Broccolini, bathed in olive oil, lemon and garlic; and Arroz Chaufa, Peruvian's rendition of fried rice. 

Churrasco Platter
Tres Leches
I bet you can't believe that after this feast, I still had room for dessert. If the thought even crossed your mind, then you must not follow me because when do I ever say no to dessert? We sampled two: Tres Leches and Churros. The tres leches was extremely moist, a heavenly genoise cake soaked in pure creaminess and dulce de leche. What can I tell you about the churros? These crunchy pastries are a trademark in my family. I had a trip down memory lane dipping the cinnamon coated sticks inside the hot chocolate.

Toro Toro is a must-visit place to experience a harmonious fusion of the different cultures present in Miami. Word on the street is that their brunch is fabulous. I must find out for myself very soon. For more information, you can contact them at 305-372-4710.

Toro Toro on Urbanspoon

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