Chef Richard Sandoval is celebrating the transformation of his downtown Miami restaurant, Toro Toro. The restaurateur is involved with more than 40 locations in the United States, and that number is only growing.
The pan-Latin concept located inside the InterContinental Hotel added a new private dining area known as the El Matador Room, expanded the lounge, and adjusted the cuisine and cocktails to include some seasonal dishes. The new lounge fits 60 people, and a private room seats 30 to 40 guests, which Chef Sandoval thinks is a sweet spot and cozy number.
The general manager of InterContinental Miami, Robert Hill, says the expansion came out of necessity. "The concept has captured the energy and flavors of Miami and has been so successful we expanded the seating by popular demand," Hill says. "We couldn't be happier with the additions and are excited about the next generation and what's to come."
Adds Sandoval: "Toro Toro is in it's fifth year and we want to stay current as private dining in hotels in important."
In addition to the interior makeover, the menu was also revamped. "I like to change the menu once a quarter and cater towards what's in season," Sandoval says. The TV personality is proudest of new dishes such as short-rib arepas ($12) topped with crema fresca, avocado, onion escabeche, and scallion; a vegetarian-friendly quinoa solterito ($14), made with roasted vegetables, white bean hummus, ají amarillo, and balsamic glaze; and ceviche nikkei ($15), prepared with ahi tuna, sweet potato, cucumber, quinoa, and avocado.
Executive chef Jhonnatan Contreras also played a large role in the menu adjustments. He says, "One of the biggest challenges was adding a new dessert that wouldn't take away from our popular La Bomba." The result is a deconstructed apple pie with Negra Modelo mousse and almond cookie crumbs ($9).
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Cocktail offerings have also been tweaked, according to assistant general manager and sommelier W. Ian Beglau. "Our consistent direction and vision is to align our specialty cocktail offerings around Richard Sandoval's pan-Latin theme."
This includes a take on the French 75. The Latin 75 ($13) is mixed with Gracias a Dios gin-mezcal, cava, pink peppercorn syrup, lemon, and dehydrated orange, and the Encantadora ($12) is shaken with Candolini Blanca, hibiscus shrub, yuzu, and cranberry. Patrons on the hungrier side should opt for the Camaron Borracha ($13), which is similar to a pisco sour but is made with Corazón Blanco, aquafaba, jalapeño nectar, and creole bitters and comes garnished with a tequila-marinated shrimp.
As far as new projects go, Toro Toro isn't stopping anytime soon. The restaurant will also carry exclusive bottles of Yellow Rose whiskey this month. "We will be the only restaurant/hotel in the world to have Yellow Rose Barrel #28A available for consumption," Belgau says. Chef Sandoval will also work on a new Fort Lauderdale hotel concept in the future.