The thought of hotel restaurants doesn't sound the least bit appealing to most locals. If South Beach were a mouse trap for tourists, over-priced, mediocre quality hotel restaurants would be the cheese.
Miami can expect a new one to add to the list: Toro Toro is slated to open inside the lobby of the InterContinental Hotel at the end of this month. And with its sister restaurant in the shiny city of Dubai, we're only expecting the best.
James Beard Award nominee chef Richard Sandoval will be spearheading the back-of-the-house palate party planners at Toro Toro.
"Miami is one of my favorite cities," he says. "Toro Toro Miami will pay homage to the warmth of Latin American hospitality and the tradition of lively, family-style dining."
Sandoval and his chef de cuisine, Rodolfo Cuadros, designed a lunch and dinner menu on par with downtown's "business meeting" crowd. The restaurant's average price per person will be $25 for lunch, and $65 for dinner.
Inexpensive it's not, but Miamians are not known to skip a great meal for a pretty penny -- so perhaps Toro Toro doesn't have to worry so much about its pricing.
The chefs' Mexican and Colombian backgrounds certainly play a big role in the dishes' concepts. Menu items include a selection of cold plates, like fresh swordfish dip with pickled chiles served with tortilla chips and ceviche de mariscos. Hot plates will offer homemade short rib arepas with guacamole and crema fresca, and a Dubai favorite: wild mushroom coca flatbread with goat cheese, caramelized shallots, and truffle oil.
Parties of six or more can enjoy the restaurant's rodizio service -- much like Texas de Brazil, Fogo de Chao, and Area Code 55. Guests will be offered unlimited grilled meats for a fixed price.
For the downtowners uninterested in getting "fancy," for lunch, though, Toro Toro will also offer an assortment of burgers and sandwiches. Chief among them, a pork belly burger with avocado and chipotle mayo. And for execs looking to impress the boss, signature entrees will be offered during lunchtime, like arroz con mariscos with saffron rice, chorizo, and mussels.
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"I think it's a great concept for a city as unique, vibrant, and colorful as Miami," Sandoval says.
The contemporary Latin steakhouse will be open seven days a week, offering lunch from noon to 3 p.m., Happy Hour beginning at 4 p.m. and dinner until midnight Sunday through Wednesday, and 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Follow Alex on Twitter @ARodWrites.