I absolutely hate tapas.
I’ve always felt they are a giant waste of money.
You spend so much for so little and always leave hungry.
So it’s best not to think of Toro Taberna in West Hartford as a tapas bar, despite what they say.
The only good thing about a tapas bar is it allows you to taste a lot of what the restaurant has to offer.
So we have.
This dish is an odd mix.
It has a heavy smoky spice to it.
This smoky spice is a constant feature here at Toro Taberna.
But the corn is also, creamy.
Spicy and creamy, an odd mic. Good, nothing great (unless you really love smoke).
The Rating: Street Corn
Barcelona Hot Chicken
The dark meat chicken is absolutely perfectly cooked. Wonderful in that respect.
But the flavors are mostly just honey and that smoky spicy pepper.
So again, if you really really love a heavy smoke flavor, you’ll like this.
But that heavy smoke mixed with honey is an odd mix.
The Rating: Barcelona Hot Chicken
It’s a spicy chicken inside a shell.
That’s about it.
The chicken is fine, the shell is fine.
The avocado salsa helps elevate this a bit.
The Rating: Empanadilla
Okay, so at this point we are getting what we expect from tapas.
Lots of small expensive food that is just fine.
But this restaurant is part of the Toro group, and their Toro Loco (full review here) has some amazing tacos.
So maybe the tacos here are likewise good?
We’ve tried two, the pastor (because obviously) and the birria.
Al Pastor taco
The pastor tacos at Toro Loco are incredible, shouldn’t they be similar here at Toro Taberna?
First, the shell is absolute grabage.
It’s paper thin and dissolves immediately.
The pork itself is tough and very salty.
The only thing that pulls this together is the charred pineapple.
Overall the flavors are there but the cooking is off.
The Rating: Al Pastor taco
Okay, this taco they start to get close.
There is really good umami flavor to this.
The shredded beef is cooked well, slightly stringy but also a little tender.
The problem is it is so damn salty.
The guacamole and salsa fresca on top help, but they can only do so much.
Good, just far too much salt.
The Rating: Birria taco
The churros here are solid.
Crispy exterior with lots of cimmanom.
The anglais sauce it is served with smoothes things out.
Quite good overall.
The Rating: Churros
I was about to completely write Toro Taberna off, until I got a hold of the
These are excellent.
The potatoes are super crispy.
Underneath there is a smoky (of course) mole sauce.
On top is a garlic aioli that cools the whole things and brings balance.
I’m looking forward to seeing more items on the menu with this kind of balance.
The Rating: Patatas Bravas
Address: 14 Oakwood Ave, West Hartford, CT 06119
Hours: Sunday & Monday: Closed
Tuesday to Friday 3pm to midnight
Saturday 11:30am to 2am