Toro! Toro!

by Sarah on April 10, 2010

The last of my Portland posts from my last trip.  And I’ve been hanging onto this one because I’m somewhat reluctant to write about it.  After all, it seems like it’s most of my Portland friend’s go-to place for a nice meal.

We were there on a busy, busy Friday night (the one before Valentine’s day) and they were kind enough to seat us without a reservation.  We sat at the bar, which was fine but obviously difficult for conversation as there were 4 of us and it was quite loud inside.

Nice wine selection.  We had the ’06 Fluminis, Montsant  for $37.

We just got tapas, so we could share a bunch of little plate.  This obviously is a Spanish tortilla.  I love these things, when prepared properly.  This one was, but was prepared with big hunks of potato, and was topped with romesco and a thick aioli that was almost reminiscent of bacalao (salt cod).  Little did I know at this time, that the majority of our dishes would be served with one sauce or the other.

French “Kisses” brandy soaked prunes stuffed with foie gras.  Good, sweet little morsels, and at just $2 each, a bargain for a nice bite of foie gras.  I just wish that they had been at room temperature and not fresh out of the fridge.

Duck Liver Mousse Terrine with morels & house made sidra mustard.  This was the most successful dish of the night, in my opinion.  The terrine was silky and rich.  Only $7.

Radicchio Salad with green olive toast & manchego vinaigrette .  This tasted like a Caesar salad.

Salt Cod Fritters with aioli.  Yep, there’s that sauce again.  The fritters were tasty enough, but a bit dark and would’ve benefitted from a different sauce, something sharper.  White fish fritters served with thick white sauce that tastes like the salt cod.  Yawn.

Seared Scallops with romesco.  There’s the other sauce!  Also, I thought $13 was a bit steep for 3 seared scallops.

Squid Ink Pasta with hazelnuts, anchovy syrup & egg yolk.   Very tasty, and believe me, more beautiful in person.  Loved the yolk that cooked as we tossed it through the pasta.  But I still think it was overpriced at $12 for smaller than a first-course sized portion.

Sauteed Chard with sunny side up egg.  Gosh, the pictures get worse as the night goes on, huh?  This was just ok, nothing special.

Another one that I thought would be outstanding, given the quality of the earlier charcuterie.  It was ok.  Not enough spice to the sausage and the fries were starchy and bland.

Maybe my expectations were too high.  I’m sure this is a fun place to gather—they certainly have an extensive menu of tapas, and the fideos on the menu looks good too.  I just had a mediocre experience, one that doesn’t really entice me to return–especially when there are so many different places to try in Portland.

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