First Look: Toro Toro
stephanie | Mar 21, 2014 | 10:00AM |

Words and photos: Stephanie Breijo

It’s hard to come across a D.C. dweller unfamiliar with Richard Sandoval. Between El Centro D.F., Ambar, Masa 14 and Zengo he’s become a known name in the District dining scene and now he’s adding one more spot to his already impressive roster; come March 31, Toro Toro–Sandoval’s Pan Latin steakhouse–opens to the public.

The steakhouse, complete with underground lounge and DJ sets, continues both Sandoval’s late night components and small plates, but don’t let that last bit fool you; Toro Toro is equally a mix of shareables, buffet spreads and entrees inspired by Peruvian and other Latin cuisine.

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“We’re taking classics and giving them more of a contemporary look,” chef de cuisine Stephen Hartzell says.

The menu is brimming with 90-percent-local meats like Elysian Fields Pennsylvania Rack of Lamb, Dry Aged Langenfelder Farms Pork Rib Chop and Marcho Farms Veal Porterhouse, as well as seafood like the Chilean Sea Bass with shrimp, scallops, calamari, cau cau sauce and mint leaves or the Spicy Miso Salmon with aji chiles, red miso, grilled asparagus and pea shoot salad.

These are just some of Toro Toro’s a la carte entrees, though the especially carnivorous guest can order the Rodizio Experience which includes two small plates per person and unlimited meats carved tableside, with a variety of sides, all for $79 per person.

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But how does Sandoval’s Toro Toro–located on I Street just a hop, skip, and a jump from other steakhouses–stack up against the K Street heavyweights? According to Hartzell, its concept caters to everyone; if you’re looking for tableside-carved meats, small plates (ranging from $4 to $16), seafood, lunch buffets, or even bottle service at the lounge, it has you covered with an expansive (and fairly inexpensive) menu that has a little something for everyone . They’ll even introduce a bottomless brunch in April complete with seafood towers, ceviches, fresh bread, a Latin spin on the benedict and more.

Between all-you-can-eat local meats and the dance floor, we’re certain we’ve found our new favorite spot to graze and work it all off under one roof. (It all evens out, right?)

Toro Toro is located at 1300 I Street, NW and opens for lunch from 11:00AM to 3:00PM.  Dinner served Sunday through Thursday from 5:00PM to 11:00PM, on Friday and Saturday from 5:00PM to Midnight. 

Late night dancing is available in the lounge Sunday through Thursday from 10:00PM to 2:00AM and on Friday and Saturday from 10:00PM to 3:00AM.

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