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.
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.