El Toro Blanco… hot new restaurant- off night?

El Toro Blanco is supposed to be really good, but maybe I went on an off night or had a weird lunch, because the foods were perfectly cooked, but many tasted bland. The people who recommended El Toro Blanco love sauce much more than I do and my fellow diners shared my concerns, so I’m guessing that the sauce station was unmanned that night.

Guacamole 9/10: Delicious. It was creamier than any guacamole I’ve had, which makes me think that they added something. Also there was a hint of smoked pepper. The dipping sauces came in 3 flavors: burn-your-throat, tomatillo, and soupy-salsa.

Tamale 5/10: It’s a struggle finding the perfect tamale. This one was on the sweeter side and much more moist than most tamales, but it was much too decorated. It was hidden underneath the mountain of sauce, and once you strip the sauce away, you find a soggy sweet cornbread.

Special steak taco with melted cheese 10/10: Best dish of the night. It came sizzling hot with warm taco shells in a little box. The balance of sauce and cheese was perfect. The cheese wasn’t too oily, and the salsa on top wasn’t too acidic.

Empanadas. 5/10: Not a good sign that I can’t remember the protein inside. The sauce tasted like princess sauce: ketchup, mayo, and maybe a hint of barbecue. Come to think of it, maybe it was short rib…

Fish, Shrimp, and Al Pastor tacos. 6/10: All three of these had perfectly tender protein, a nice balance of meat to veggies, something crunchy and bright, and NO SAUCE. With a dollop of sauce, these could be 9/10. So sad.

Flautas 6.5/10: Once again I’ve forgotten the protein. I think it was shredded duck. The flauta was nice and crispy under all the decorations, which was a pleasant surprise.

Corn 9/10: I love mexican corn. I can’t believe they’d charge a $10 premium to cut the corn off the cob, but I just can’t help myself. Also they cooked some onions and mixed it in, which makes it extra good. Perhaps I’ll grill this myself and blog about it one day.

This dish did make me realize that they were using particularly sweet corn, so maybe the sweetness of the tamale was just a result of the corn.

Grilled lobster 8/10: Difficult to eat, but delicious. Grilled lobster is almost always overcooked, so I’ve given up on docking points as long as it as a hint of smoke but no charred pieces where I can taste ash and metal (you’d be surprised how hard it is to get that balance).

Steak 7/10: No complaints here. The melty cheese with either green tomato or tomatillos slices inside was quite delicious, but none of the mains were as delicious as the corn!

Apple pie empanadas with caramel and ice cream 6.5/10: They tasted like fried apple pie. It was good, but nothing new. The whole thing was a little too sweet for me, and even though the other empanadas didn’t have a flakey crust, this one absolutely should.

Tres leches cake 8/10: Tres leches cake was my favorite dessert until I made it for xmas one year and read the nutrition facts on the ingredients. Oops! This version was very good because they used marshmallow fluff on top, which tastes different from the cream-based everything else. It also gives a certain lightness to the otherwise physically and calorically heavy dessert.

Overall El Toro Blanco’s a solid restaurant. I’ll have to go back to find out if I visited on an off night someday. It was good enough, and the food was varied enough, that I’m willing to give it another shot.

The ambiance was great – it was fun and lively without being too loud. The waitress offered us tequila shots for dessert, maybe she should should have offered those as appetizer. The blog post would be a little different then…

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