December 27, 2008

The bull

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No, we are not talking about El Bulli. Far from it. I did, however, nibble on some flavors of Spain at El Toro with some friends. One of the friends in attendance has sampled the food on an earlier occasion, and thought it was reasonably good.

We started with some tapas. At first I was very distressed to find the conspicuous absence of bacalao from the menu. Spanish cuisine without bacalao? My opinion of the place immediately goes down a notch...

We start with some jamon iberico, which is not bad at all. At least, it's better than the stuff that I had at Forchetta. The ham is soft and moist as it should be, with enough fat to make it tasty.

As a substitute for the classic bacalao croquette, I ordered Hokkaido scallops croquettes. The exterior looked a little too brown, but the dish was delicious nonetheless. The creamy interior had some Hokkaido scallops in the center.

The stuffed squid with confitated onion and black rice was pretty tasty. The rice was not al dente, but I didn't mind it being a little soggy. Kinda reminds me of a similar dish I had at Yin Yang in Hong Kong.

The creamy lobster and saffron rice was not bad at all. Very tasty, and much better than your standard paella. This was a very popular dish.

What came next sounded really interesting when I read it on the menu, but we all agreed that it didn't really work. Crab meat with herbs bread and white warm chocolate. Hmmm...pretty bad translation from the Chinese name... Anyway, a very ho-hum dish.

The New York cut beef with French mustard was pretty good. Nicely charred on the outside while pink and moist on the inside. I didn't take any of the mustard, choosing instead to sprinkle sea salt. One of us is off red meat at the moment, so she had to watch us devour the juicy meat, while we try in vain to convince her that the beef wasn't any good...

The stewed rabbit leg "chasseur" style was pretty delish, but more interesting because it's rare to find such a dish in Taiwan. I'm glad we decided to order it.

Finally we have the suckling-pig leg low temperature roasted, which would be the perfect last dish for any Spanish meal. Here, too, the pig was delicious. I'll take fatty, tender young meat and crispy roasted skin any day!

We ordered all four of the desserts on the menu, and I taste two of them. I thought the chocolate warm piramid with lime was delicious - like little chocolate-flavored pyramids of madeleines.

I brought a bottle of 2003 E and E Black Pepper Shiraz, which I joked about being a cheap wine since I bought it from Costco. It wasn't a "wow" wine, at least not now, but it was pleasant and easy to drink.

The chef came out to chat with us, in particular because I had asked about bacalao and cod earlier. He tells me that the Taiwanese palate doesn't take to it well, and that the ingredient simply costs too much for the locals. He did promise to procure the materials if I gave him enough notice next time...

1 comment:

Lin said...

That was a nice dinner we had. I believe that everyone there enjoyed it. Thanks for your wine. I was out on business during the day. I will bring a bottle out of my fridge next time.

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