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Octopus at Toro

Priceless rendition of a regional Spanish dish

The ancient Galicians used octopus as currency. And if chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette were cooking in the region back then, their pulpo ($16) at Toro would be the equivalent of a $1,000 bill. Even if they were able spin their tenderization process into legal tender today, the pair would certainly be very wealthy men.


Pulpo at Toro

Pulpo at Toro (Photo: Noah Fecks)

Spiced with coriander and star anise before being slow-cooked in olive oil with celery, onion and fennel until just the right consistency, the octopus is then tossed on a hot plancha (flat-top grill) for a smoky finish. A charred onion vinaigrette with garlic, scallions, white soy, harissa, olives and fresh oregano enhance regional flavors while potatoes bring a touch of tradition. Bissonnette describes the resulting texture as “meaty, almost steak-like.” Its what happens when surf-and-turf collide in one ingredient.

Boston-based Oringer and Bissonnette opened Toro in September with partners Doug Jacob and Will Malnati (Willow Road). The sprawling Chelsea space, edged with greenery, feels like a hip, industrial garden — a splashier, larger version of the Beantown original. The energy in the room, spread by eager diners who are having as much fun as they might in a seaside tapas bar in Spain, is the restaurant’s most valuable asset. Besides the octopus, that is.

85 10th Ave.

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