Looks like there is a new gourmand entry to the DUMBO scene - a Spanish, Asian, steakhouse, sushi restaurant and tapas lounge. Huh? Gothamist stumbled upon the bizarre polygot spot, christened Toro, at the long-empty duplex space at 1 Front Street. Its official opening is this Saturday, January 8th. But, Gothamist's sneak peek proffered a glimpse at elegant bar area alongside a sushi station. Tilting heads upwards in the vaulted space, we were greeted by an eery Epcot-like, hacienda-inspired exterior, ensconcing the second floor dining room.
The menu was equally disjointed, running the gamut from a ceviche of big-eye red tuna in a spicy cilantro, jalapeno salsa, purple pickled onions and plantain chips ($14) to spicy tuna maki ($8), and grilled skirt steak with chimchurri salsa, avocado, tomatoes and wild mushroom tapenade ($28)to sea urchin sashimi ($5/piece). It all sounds a little too odd for us - but the proof is in the pudding. Or in this case, the ceviche and sushi. We hope that Toro's food, drink and service will win us over, beyond our initial responses to the restaurant's concept.
That said, we were awfully happy to leave Toro in its nascent form and head next door to Five Front, a DUMBO fave, offering warm hospitality, a classic interior and a user-friendly American and Mediterranean menu. The kitchen's burgers with frizzled onions and striped bass with beets and cauliflower mash hit all the right upscale comfort fare notes.
Is there room on the block for Toro's wild Spanish and Asian sensibilities alongside Five Front's American bistro? Gothamist guesses it all depends on whether or not Toro's kitchen can grab the bull by the horns and deliver a dining experience worthy of an "Olé!"
Toro SpanAsian, 1 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201, 718-625-0300
Five Front, 5 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201, 718-625-5559. And for more about toro the fish itself, check out the Sushi Infosite, whose toro diagram is helpful.