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#521 ExtraMSG

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 06:38 PM

New menu with "raciones" section and new items from John and Renee's trip to Spain. (New items are bold.)

Pinchos
Toasted Almonds with sea salt 2
Marinated Olives & Pickled Vegetables 3
Bread with butter & olive oil 1
Griddled Bacon Wrapped Date with warm honey 2 ea
Steves Cheese Board 10
Heirloom Orange Salad with olives, fennel & espelette 6
Marinated Sheeps Cheese with rose petal harissa & mint 7
Octopus a la Plancha "Becerrita" 7
Singing Pig Greens with grapefruit, almonds, red onion & blue cheese 8
Radicchio Salad with green olive toast & manchego vinaigrette 8

Tapas
Tortilla Espanola with spinach 7
Boquerones with toasted bread & piperade 7
Salt Cod Fritters with aioli* 4/8
Fresh Spanish Anchovies fried with fennel & lemon 8
Griddled Shrimp with chilies 9
Potatoes Bravas* 4/7
Harira, moroccan lamb & lentil stew 4 ea
Hand Rolled Tunisian Couscous with honey, harissa & chopped olives 7
Glazed Carrots with caper, onion & pepper relish 7
Seared Cauliflower with olives & salsa verde 8
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with bacon sherry cream 8
Roasted Cabbage with chorizo & almonds 7
Sauteed Chard with sunny side up egg 7
Basque Piperade with baked eggs 8
Sauteed Spinach with pine nuts & golden raisins 6
Oregon Black Truffle Omelet with mahon 9
Empanada with braised beef, chocolate & chilies 8
Hand Cut Noodles with pimenton dulce & manchego 9
Grilled Flat Bread with black truffle cheese & arugula 9
Sauteed Hedgehog Mushrooms with cream & sherry, on griddled bread 9

Charcuteria
French Kiss brandy soaked prune stuffed with foie gras 2 ea
Chorizo & Manchego with country bread 7
Sherry Chicken Liver Mousse 7
Smoked Pork Rillettes with orange marmalade & toast 7
Duck Liver Mousse Terrine with morels & house made sidra mustard 8
Charcuteria Board 13

Raciones
Spicy Octopus & Prawn Stew 10
Seared Scallops with romesco* 14
Moroccan Tuna with dried cherry couscous 12
Squid Ink Pasta with hazelnuts, anchovy syrup & egg yolk* 12
Harissa Stewed Butternut Squash with crumbled sheeps cheese 5/9
Baked Polenta with roast beef, peppers & onions 4/8
Smoked Pork Shoulder Sandwich with celery root slaw* 8/15
Drunken Pork with fresh shell bean stew 7/13
Meatballs with tomato-almond sauce & heirloom beans 7/11
Oxtail Croquettes with chili mayonnaise* 14
Grilled Veal Sweetbreads with lemon 9
Roasted Eggplant & Lamb Ragu with sweet peppers & mahon 11
Squash Dumplings with eight pepper braised lamb 14
North African Sausages with french fries, harissa & sour cream 8/15
Grilled moorish lamb chops with warm potato and chorizo salad 10/20
Jamon Wrapped Chicken with pisto manchego 14
Chicken & Clams Cataplana with tomato & jamon 15
Sopa de Fideos with shrimp, octopus, clams, and mussles 16
Fideos with boar sausage & dungeness crab 21
House Bacon & Manchego Burger with romesco & pickled vegetables* 10
House Smoked Coppa Steak with confit potatoes, chopped olives & salbitxada* 7/14
Paella Toro with chicken, chorizo, shrimp, clams & mussels 19

Tasting Menu
Chefs Choice for the Table, 25 dollars per person

Sweets
Chocolate Almonds 3
Churros & Chocolate 7
Lemon Curd Crepes 6
Olive Oil Cake with blood orange caramel 6
Caramel Panna Cotta 6
Almond Ice Cream with a shot of espresso 6
Hazelnut Ice Cream with Sherry 82 Don PX, Bodegas Toro Albala 7
Molten Chocolate Cake with vanilla ice cream 7
Baked Apples & Pears with vanilla ice cream 7
Steves Cheese Board 10


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#522 ExtraMSG

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 12:09 AM

A friend from Chicago is in town (no, Amanda, it's not Alan, so John can feel secure in your relationship) and had never eaten in Portland. Toro Bravo was at the top of his list. We went around 8pm and had no wait.

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After ordering, we were brought a bite from the kitchen: the octopus a la plancha. It consisted of a potato base, topped with aioli, a piece of grilled octopus, and piperade. It was terrific. The octopus was very tender and the combination of flavors was great, especially that red pepper against the mayo and potato.

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Marinated sheep cheese was next. I'm sure I've talked about it before. I rarely go to Toro Bravo without getting it.

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My dining partner ordered the truffle omelet with mahon. I would have liked it a little more moist and thinner in proportion to the truffles. Oregon truffles are often rather bland, as these were, so you can't have too much to get in the way. Dining partner thought the cheese obstructed the truffles. Personally, if I had known he was thinking about this dish, I might have encouraged him to go with the tortilla and nettles instead. I just don't trust Oregon truffles enough.

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Got a half order of the drunken pork. I'm not always wild about the flavor of the drunken pork itself, though these nuggets were each juicy and tender. My favorite part of the dish is the beans. Great balance with nice depth, perhaps from reduced booze, tomatoey sweetness, and some tartness as well.

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The fried fennel, lemon & fresh anchovy is a requisite dish for first-timers, imo. I'm sure it's been described several times before. Sometimes the fennel or lemon can have a bitter or off flavor, but there was none here at all.

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We were sent out the Moorish lamb chops, a new dish Gorham picked up on a recent trip to Spain. It was fantastic. It might have been my favorite dish of the night. The chops were cut thin, yet bone-in, reminding me of Korean short ribs. Great marinade that hit all parts of the palate. The chops themselves were tender and juicy. Underneath were thin slices of potato, diced chorizo, and more lamb.

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The chard with sunny side up egg was simple but nice -- and very welcome with all the heavier items we ordered.

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We probably should have chosen a lighter vegetable dish than the harissa stewed butternut squash, but we still ate every last bit. It had a deep sweetness countered just enough by the harissa and some melted tangy cheese.

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We just got a half order of the smoked coppa, mentioned several times in this thread, but the food was adding up. Despite that, it was one of my dining partner's favorite items of the night.

No dessert. We ended up getting some donuts at Sesame for him to nosh on in the morning instead.

Very good meal. Those lamb chops are a great addition to the menu.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#523 lhollers

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 10:49 PM

Holy. Shit. Just had the number one meal of my life at Toro Bravo. Those guys are literally killing it... I'm in awe - will post pictures tomorrow. That bacon wrapped date with almond will haunt me for life...

#524 WAfoodie

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 12:30 PM

One of my favorite restaurants in Portland due to the variety of food and flavors, different preparations than I would make. It's always on the list for out-of-town visitors.
Went a couple of Saturdays ago, since last year's visit, and ordered my standby of potatoes bravas, coppa steak, almond ice cream & espresso, and then tried new dishes of North African sausage with fries, empanada (with roast chicken, raisins, almond), and seared cauliflower with olive.

The coppa is still a favorite although the tender and flavorful meat is sliced in thinner portions, instead of a thicker chunk of meat in which the crust held onto more of the best part of the steak, its seasonings. The same expert preparation in the potatoes bravas transforms plain roasted potatoes into something more special. The North African sausage was new to me so I wasn't used to the sausage with parts of it soft with an almost mushy mouth feel along with limp french fries. The empanada had a fantastic flaky crust and the chicken filling was satisfactory. Loved the seared cauliflower with the vibrant and tangy olive & salsa verde that made the dish. The almond ice cream affogato was a little weak on almond flavor, in fact some may like the smoother texture now that there are no detectable almond bits as before.

Had no trouble getting in that Saturday as I was in line at opening.

#525 singingpig

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 04:34 PM

Took my daughter to TB for dinner last night.

I had a couple of glasses of cava...she had the Limoncello Classic to drink

Started with the dates and french kiss. She was amazed when I told her what the french kiss was made of.

Then we shared a green salad...I love the way they serve it...just like I do at home. In a big bowl with whatever fruit or veg is in season with some nuts. It is asparagus and boiled egg right now. Local asparagus will start this week.

The kitchen sent us a plate with 2 small sausages, grilled bread, mustard and pickled red peppers & onions. Very good but I don't remember what it was called.

Then the seared scallops, and the N African sausages.

I had the panna cotta and she had the churros for dessert.

Lovely dinner.

#526 doglover

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 04:32 PM

Not many recent write-ups on Toro Bravo. We just visited Tuesday night for the first time in a while. Our overall response was "meh". Which is so different from our previous visits. 5 dishes were very good to outstanding, but four average and two just plain awful dishes was a disappointment. Many of the "tapas" portions were so large they were more like mains meaning we ordered far more food than we could enjoy as well. We will certainly return, but will be far more circumspect of the menu and will keep in mind that portion sizes are no longer "tapas" for many dishes. We ordered exclusively from the tapas side of the menu!

Highlights - 5 strong dishes well worth ordering again:

Grilled Flat Bread with Truffle Cheese & Arugula (Tasty, but again too large for a tapas dish)
Fresh Pasta With Pimenton Dulce And Manchego (Was brought to our table by mistake, but wished we had ordered instead of something else as this is delicious)
Sauteed Hedgehog Mushrooms With Sherry Cream On Griddled Bread (My favorite of the evening)
Basque Piperade With Duck Egg (We always order this and will keep on ordering)
Salt Cod Fritters (Tasty -- and true tapas size portion too)

Would order again to round out a meal:
Fideos With Grilled Anchovies, Octopus, And Romesco
Boquerones With Toasted Bread And Piperade
Pickle's & Olives
Steve's Cheese Board

Lowlights far below my expectation for Toro Bravo:
Harira Morrocan Lamb & Lentil Stew
Fried Spanish Anchovies With Fennel And Lemon

Edited by doglover, 01 March 2012 - 09:29 PM.


#527 Jill-O

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 04:37 PM

Wow, that anchovy/fennel/lemon dish is usually one of my go-to dishes there. What didn't you like about it?


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#528 doglover

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:37 PM

First it was a huge amount of food for a tapas dish. I liked the fennel despite the amount on the plate, but the anchovies just weren't good. I like strong fish and am all over saba etc at Sushi places but these were tough to choke down.

#529 polloelastico

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:42 PM

First it was a huge amount of food for a tapas dish. I liked the fennel despite the amount on the plate, but the anchovies just weren't good. I like strong fish and am all over saba etc at Sushi places but these were tough to choke down.

Interesting, those are usually just like spanish nachos for me. That does look like a much larger portion than what I've gotten in the past. If the anchovies were off then that sucks.
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#530 pwillen1

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 07:02 AM

Had some friends in from the Jing and wanted to show off quintessentially Portland food. Offered them Pok Pok, le Pigeon, and Toro Bravo and they chose the latter.

The food was reminiscent of Olive Garden. Massive amounts of sugar and fat coating every dish. We had sauteed spinach that was drowned in a pile of honey and grapes, we had a single brussels sprout that had been leafed out and drenched in heavy cream and bacon bits, and we had other dishes, too, all drown in fat and sugar. The counterpoint was the braised shortrib--a single, dried out rib crusted with cumin. We had the nettle fideos: from a box elbow mac, 2 nettle leaves, and some greasy, bland homemade sausage (reminded me of a peace corps meal in Senegal).

The highlight of the evening was the Breakside Brewing Toro Red. It was quite malt forward and just enough bitterness to stand up to the salt/sugar/fat onslaught.

Toro Bravo is like a wine made for Robert Parker. Everyone says it's good, but I just don't get it. It's not Spanish, it's not NW, it's just an uncomfortable mess that frustrates me.
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#531 JimProuty

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:45 PM

Toro Bravo is like a wine made for Robert Parker. Everyone says it's good, but I just don't get it. It's not Spanish, it's not NW, it's just an uncomfortable mess that frustrates me.


I can't verify whether it is Spanish, but I can verify that all 4 of our "foodie" diners thought the food was "awesome". Nearly everything we ordered, from the food to the mixed drinks, were exceptional. There is real craft in everything they do: from the service, food, bar, everything. Were the empanada's the "best in the world"?. No; but many Toro Bravo dishes are way better.

My favorites dishes from last Tuesday:

Griddled Bacon Wrapped Date with warm honey
Braised Lamb, Apricots & Coriander with house made noodles
Braised Green Beans with jamon, tomato & crème fraiche butter
Oxtail Croquettes with chili mayonnaise

Their mixed drinks are carefully made using excellent ingredients.

Service was attentive and the food arrived rather quickly.

Come early during the week and you might just be able to slip in with minimal waiting. I would.

#532 Kernel

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 03:26 PM

Has anyone been to TB recently? It's been years since I've been and was thinking about trying it again this weekend.  Any recent impressions on the food?  Is the wait on a weekend still formidable? 



#533 philthyanimal

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 10:03 PM

Yup....food is still consistent and hasn't missed a beat. Lines are still long...I went midweek and all tables were gone after half an hour

#534 WAfoodie

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Posted 22 April 2015 - 11:29 AM

I always learn something new when I dine here. During this visit, we ordered the sauteed fava shoots. No fava beans, only the tender shoots. Delicious. The texture of these greens reminded me so much of the pea shoots that you might get in Chinese restos. Who knew.

Another new dish, to me, was the clam cataplana. They sometimes have served it with chicken and clams. The sauce is meaty and rich, you'll have to order more bread, to add to the two slices that come with the dish, to sop up all the goodness.



#535 mymil

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Posted 22 April 2015 - 02:10 PM

I went sometime last year and both food and drinks were good but the dishes don't stick in my mind, with one exception: I thought their el bulli olive ("spanish kiss") wasn't very good. But who cares! That's not their thing, anyway.