One of the best dining experiences of my life was at Toro in Boston. Not just because of the food, but because of a chance encounter.
Toro is an award-winning Spanish tapas restaurant in Boston. It's rustic, it's chic and it's busy. And it feels like you've been transported to beautiful Barcelona.
Toro is a Barcelona-style tapas restaurant located in Boston’s South End. We serve traditional and modern Spanish-style small plates made with locally sourced and sustainable ingredients.
Hailed as Boston's best kept secret, Toro is a Spanish tapas restaurant and bar that has been serving the South End since 2005. Created by James Beard Award-winning Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette, the menu features Barcelona-inspired hot and cold small plates, designed to be served and enjoyed tapas-style. The beverage program features classic-inspired cocktails and an eclectic, carefully curated wine list. Toro is open seven days a week for dinner, serves lunch on the weekdays and features a special brunch on Sunday. Due to our small size we are unable to accommodate dinner reservations and seat all parties on a first-come, first serve basis. We do accept lunch reservations of any size and take brunch reservations for parties of 6 or more.We were seated on this awkward little corner at the end of the booth seating and beginning of window seating. We were right behind this one, elderly gentleman eating alone who seemed to come here often, as he knew the servers by name. This is Jack Truslow.
Kaitlynn and I were having a bit of a heart-to-heart, as it was our last day together for probably months. We talked about our respective futures and where we see things going, and we talked about changes ahead. I lamented how I feel such a strong connection to West Virginia, and how I don't want to be "one of the ones who leave." Even though I totally understand why people do. I told her how I love the bustling city and how full of life it is, but there are things about home that you just can't get elsewhere.
In the midst of this deep conversation, we put in some orders from the menu. Tapas necessitates ordering a few different bites and sharing them amongst the table. We ordered a handful and soon enough, fresh baked bread was delivered to our table. It was yeasty, porous and divine.
Kaitlynn's "Pan con Tomate" came out, which is toasted bread, tomato, garlic, Spanish olive oil, sea salt and anchovies. Next, my "Maíz Asado con Alioli y Queso Cotija" was grilled corn with aioli, lime, espelette pepper and aged cheese. I don't say this often - but this was life-changing. I didn't know that corn could taste this good. IT's hidden under this mound of cheesy creamy deliciousness. The corn is perfectly grilled, the little lime just enhances the flavors. Like, you must get this. Please get this so we can talk about it. There's nothing else like this. Amazing.
OK, I also got the "Uni Bocadillo," which is a pressed uni (sea urchin) sandwich with miso butter and pickled mustard seeds. Also, quite good. Small, light, flavorful.
We took bites of everything, exclaiming how incredible each of these small plates were, while carrying on our conversation about real-world adult shit. It was then that Jack Truslow apologized and interrupted our conversation. He was from North Carolina, but fell in love with Boston. He loved the city and overheard it was my last day (and heard me saying city folk are not super nice), so he wanted to prove Boston is lovely. He ordered us one more small plate - "pimientos del Padron," which are spicy green peppers and sea salt.
It's a very simple, but beautiful dish full of vibrant flavors - like each of these plates. I was overwhelmed with his generosity. We continued to talk, and he knew of all the great places in town and asked how I was liking things. He caught my name and then mentioned Candice Bergen (who my mother got inspiration from in naming me), and he was delighted to hear that fact. Jack Truslow became the unintended, but very welcomed third party at our table.
If I felt before that Boston wasn't overly friendly, he completely changed my mind. That was exactly what he intended to do - to show Boston could be friendly. He carried on a long conversation with us about food once he found out I was a blogger, and we talked about the incredible meal we all had just had.
Toro really is an incredible place. Flavors I haven't had before - all prepared fresh and full of vibrancy. And the customers, well, they are pretty great, too.