Chef Richard Sandoval’s newest venue, Toro Toro, opens in Washington, D.C., on March 31. The name Toro Toro plays on the Japanese word for tuna and the Spanish word for bull, indicating a Pan Latin steakhouse with a generous selection of small plates.
Sandoval and co-owner Ivan Iricanin tapped chef de cuisine Stephen Hartzell, formerly of Taqueria and Tequileria, to oversee Toro Toro’s kitchen. Hartzell will prepare a variety of hot and cold small plates, along with a wide selection of steaks. The menu will also note where meat and seasonal ingredients are sourced, with an emphasis on supporting local and regional farms. Touted as a great spot for a “power lunch,” guests can anticipate menu item ranging range from $4-16 for small plates, salads, and sandwiches, and $26-45 for steak entrées. Toro Toro will also offer a weekday lunch buffet priced at $25 per person.
The steakhouse will also showcase an innovative beverage program, spearheaded by Sandoval’s national beverage director Rob Day. Guests will find handcrafted cocktails made with premium Latin spirits, including two barrel-aged drinks, the Buena Vida, and the Manhattan de Toro, along with a well-curated collection of 130 wines from around the world, and 35 wines by the glass.
First course selections include hot and cold small plates that showcase South and Central American ingredients, and are priced from $4-16 each. Standouts include Swordfish Dip, featuring smoked swordfish, aioli, cilantro, pickled chiles, and tomato served with corn chips; Seared Seafood Ceviche, with prawns, calamari, scallops, milk, ginger, aji Amarillo, leche de tigre, and sweet potatoes; Causa Toro Toro, combining a potato sushi cake, tuna tartar, rocoto aioli, avocado, and sesame; and Tiradito of Roasted Beets, with pickled onion, orange, pistachios, goat cheese and pomegranate.
Hot small plates include Lomo Saltado Empanada, stuffed pastry with beef tenderloin, oyster sauce, tomato, onion, and guacamole sauce; Lamb Anticucho Skewers, served with a garlic-yogurt sauce, mint, and pickled cucumbers; Spanish Ham Croquettes, delivered with Chinese mustard, chipotle chili aioli, and emmental cheese; Short Rib Coca Flatbread, a braised short rib topped with Manchego cheese, horseradish, and arugula; and Cachapas, duck carnitas with corn pancakes, Oaxaca cheese, and tomato jam.
A variety of steaks and Pan Latin specialty dishes will also be available à la carte, and include Elysian Fields Pennsylvania Rack of Lamb; Dry Aged Langenfelder Farms Pork Rib Chop; Marcho Farms Veal Porterhouse; Chilean Sea Bass with shrimp, scallops, calamari, cau cau sauce, and mint leaves; Spicy Miso Salmon with aji chiles, red miso, grilled asparagus, and pea shoot salad; and Arroz con Mariscosa la Norteña, prepared with prawns, calamari, scallops, cilantro puree, pumpkin, salsa criolla, and aji mirasol. Steak and entrées are priced from $21-45.
Parties of four or more will also be able to enjoy Toro Toro’s Rodizio Experience, which includes two small plates per person, free-flowing meats carved tableside, and various side dishes for $79 per guest. Unlimited meat options include Brazilian-style Picanha Steak, USDA Prime Rib Eye Steak, Beef Tenderloin, Australian Lamb Chop, Achiote Marinated Chicken Thigh, and Prawns.
LW Design Group LLC of Dubai, UAE, designed the 12,400-square-foot space, which draws inspiration from Japanese and Latin interior design elements. The main dining room is open and organized into distinctive sections, to make the space feel intimate and inviting. The dining room is a striking contrast to the lounge space below, which features a steel and wood staircase leading to guests down to the dance floor, which is surrounded with low slung banquettes.