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October 20th, 2010 KAT MERCK | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Toro Bravo: Restaurant Guide 2010

     
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5-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday. No reservations for groups under seven. $-$$ Inexpensive-moderate.
[SPANISH AND THEN SOME] There are two kinds of people in this world—those who would order a bacon cheeseburger at a tapas restaurant, and those who find the notion patently offensive. Both would be happy at Toro Bravo. The bacon and manchego burger, piled high with romesco and pickled vegetables ($9), is not only generously sized and appropriately Spanish, it was crowned the third-best burger in Portland by WW. But for those actually interested in tapas, a veritable treasure trove awaits. The two-sided menu lists a mind-boggling variety of pinchos (“snacks”), charcuteria and tapas, all priced between $1 and $15. The dishes are meant to be shared, but if something on the menu catches your eye, odds are the “sharing” will consist of offering an obligatory bite to your dining companions and then pulling the plate slightly closer to your side of the table, devouring the remainder in a sort of gustatory fugue state. And, it must be noted, the service is as exemplary as the food. In fact, the most popular dish on a recent evening wasn’t the oxtail croquettes (excellent) or rabbit-sausage fideos (really, really excellent), but two bowls of simple buttered noodles, brought unbidden by a server to a pair of preternaturally patient 7-year-olds marooned at a table of adults. KAT MERCK.
Ideal meal: Pick up the menu, close your eyes and point.
Best deal: Chef’s Choice tasting menu, $25 a person.
Chef’s choice: Basque piperade with duck egg. (John Gorham)

 
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