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GWiv and I are fed a load of Del Toro

GWiv and I are fed a load of Del Toro
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  • GWiv and I are fed a load of Del Toro

    Post #1 - March 3rd, 2006, 12:12 am
    Post #1 - March 3rd, 2006, 12:12 am Post #1 - March 3rd, 2006, 12:12 am
    Image

    Partly because I'm just on a Spanish kick, and partly because I'm more drawn to hot new restaurants whose location I'm actually aware of (to be honest, I have no idea what part of town, say, Alinea or Butter is in), for a month or so my next dining choice for an uptown meal has been Del Toro. Tonight I inflicted that choice on GWiv.

    The space was formerly Mod, whose Austin-Powers-on-acid decor always amused the hell out of me. Ironically, by ripping its totally fake cinematic/lysergic vision of the 60s out and replacing it with a sort of pseudo-Moroccan Spanish thing, Del Toro looks a hell of a lot more than Mod ever did like the real 60s, like a genuine leftover like Sayat Nova or Orso's. Jagged mosaic tile, Gaudiesque curves, a sort of cheating-with-your-secretary dark and sensuous feel, and a back seating area done in Brothel Red with little dangly curtains-- it's like Mod gave birth to the bastard child of That Steak Joynt.

    Image

    But if the interior conjures up a distant era, the clientele is pure 2006 GenXer-- you feel like a striped dress shirt is going to walk up to you and say "Hi, my name is J. Crew and I'll be your wardrobe tonight." Suspicions that the Spanish cuisine theme went no deeper than the fact that Spain is young and hip at the moment, and that we had in fact walked into a totally ersatz experience for dating twentysomethings, a form of Spanish concept which in five years will be appearing in suburban malls everywhere (Olive Jardin? Bilbao Bicycle Club?), were about to be resoundingly confirmed by the food, which was food for people who think they're foodies but aren't. A few things were quite good, one thing was even completely convincing as something you'd get in Spain-- but most of it was crushingly ordinary, occasionally plastic, and frequently just plain annoying. And everyone but us seemed happy with it; the food is, evidently, not the point.

    We had:

    • Pre-dinner snack with almonds, paprika-dusted popcorn, and olives. Olives okay, popcorn is apparently the new bread when it comes to starting off meals, and I liked the old one better.

    • Cured pork loin with wisps of cheese, a little jalapeno and allegedly apple. Doomed by exceedingly bland pork loin, neither especially cured nor especially porky. With two slices of Wonder bread and some mayo, would make a perfectly okay ham sandwich in the Ameritech cafeteria.

    • Crudo of scallop, thinly sliced. I thought this was pretty nice in a sashimi kind of way, GWiv thought it was too mayonnaisy.

    • Jamon serrano with manchego and pa amb tomaquet. Again, very bland ham, decent cheese, tomato bread was perfectly edible. At least a step or two up from the other bland pork dish.

    • Crostini (or Spanish equivalent thereof) with white anchovies and some green onion and a spritz of lemon. Simple, the realest thing we'd had so far, and the best-- exactly the sort of Spanish bar food you'd hoped the whole meal would be.

    • Crostini with chicken liver on a slice of bacon. Also very good. Maybe you want to stick to crostini here.

    • Fried chickpeas. With the sort of breading that you normally expect on calamari, and after a couple of drinks, quite scarfable.

    • Patatas bravas. The waitress suggested these and I thought she was pointing to a fritter-like dish on another table. Instead we got 8 rather precious cylinders of refried and formed mashed potato which immediately reminded me of fried potato skins at a bar circa 1978. Frou-frou and kind of gross, I was ashamed to have ordered them.

    • Baby calamari stuffed with chorizo. Gary thought these were a little overdone but basically a good dish. I thought mine was prepared just right but just not a very good dish.

    Image

    • Cube of bacon with braised endive. I've (fairly) recently had a knockoff of Blackbird's pork belly at four different restaurants-- Thyme Cafe, Hot Chocolate, Avec and now Del Toro. This was by far fourth out of four, the only one that made me feel they didn't understand the dish in the first place, as the bottom meat was stringy and overcooked and the sweetish sauce was insufficient to coat the amount of bacon we had (also kind of an un-user-friendly way of serving it, in one large cube). As Gary said, they could have redeemed the whole meal right here, but they blew it.

    • Lentil stew with sausage and morcilla. This was probably the best thing after the two crostini, a wholly satisfying stew served in a mini dutch oven, with good and ample slices of sausage.

    • Veal cheeks with mashed potatoes. A tragic mockery of a dish, one of the richest and most succulent cuts of meat turned into flavorless mush (the sauce should have been like boeuf bourguignon, but it was way too short on bourguignon). And the mashed potatoes it was plopped on had been so gooped up with cream cheese or mascarpone or 5-in-1 weatherstripping caulk or something that they were repellently inedible. This was the sort of dish where you want the power to take away the chef's foodhandling card for two weeks in retaliation.

    Despite recommendations here we blew off the idea of dessert and were eager to pay up and get the hell out, so I can't tell you about the mission figs in red wine with whatever trendy-ass sorbetto they were served on. You know, after mocking the idea of hip new restaurants (as anointed by Chicago magazine) some months back, I found myself actually liking all of those places that I tried-- Avec, Scylla, Thyme Cafe, etc.-- and wondering if I was in fact a hypocrite for mocking the idea of trendiness while in truth liking it as much as the next yuppie. Well, tonight my faith in myself was restored. Del Toro is apparently the perfect restaurant for some people, and I am absolutely not them.

    Del Toro
    1520 N. Damen Ave.
    773-252-1500
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  • Post #2 - March 3rd, 2006, 7:40 am
    Post #2 - March 3rd, 2006, 7:40 am Post #2 - March 3rd, 2006, 7:40 am
    I ate there a couple months back and agree with your assessment. I can honestly say that the two things I enjoyed most were the fried chickpeas, which I view as a glorified bar snack, and the tomato bread, which is like saying the best thing I liked about the Italian restaurant was the bruschette. I was similarly disappointed by the braised bacon - usually anything bacon-related is satisfying. But it was really tasteless and the texture odd. Unfortunately, everything else I had was pretty forgettable.

    The highlight of the night occurred in the beginning, when the server struggled through the pre-dinner recitation of the specials. Halfway through, he gave up and handed us the crib sheet provided to the servers by management. Emblazoned at the top of the sheet was, "Phil Vettel has said he's excited to try Del Toro! Everybody must be in top form!!!!!!!" It would have been priceless thinking that the server might later have done the same thing and handed the list to Phil himself. Nice.

    Good thing I didn't pay for the meal.
  • Post #3 - March 3rd, 2006, 8:33 am
    Post #3 - March 3rd, 2006, 8:33 am Post #3 - March 3rd, 2006, 8:33 am
    Mike,

    The perfect opportunity to ask, but how were the portions, which were, for the most part, small.* Though I realize I, by no stretch of the imagination, am their target demographic I was nonplused by almost every aspect of Del Toro, starting with the extremely uncomfortable bar seating and ending with the bus-staff's intense desire to clear plates from which one was still eating, in one case mid-fork.

    Food wise, with a couple of notable exceptions, marinated white anchovy Montadito, which they refer to as Spanish Bruschetta and, to a slightly lesser extent, rosemary grilled chicken liver, also a Montadito, not one damn thing, and we tried 11 separate dishes, popped out at me. It was almost as if the food was given a flavor lobotomy to make it acceptable to a wider range of people.

    Ironically, Del Toro had a wee dish of Malden sea salt on the table, but nothing needed salting, in fact a few dishes, fried chick peas for one, were noticeably oversalted, though I wish more restaurants had quality sea salt on the table. The two most disappointing dishes of the evening were, as Mike outlined, braised veal, which our waitress said were veal cheeks, even going on to inform us that there were only two cheeks per animal, and the ridiculously mismanaged hunk-o-bacon.

    Service was fine, even with the overeager bus-staff, bartender, while no Henry Bishop, knew his booze and the front of the house handled their jobs with ease. Del Toro's interior is 'interesting', I'd heard it's supposed to be evocative of a Spanish bullfight, 'interesting' or not, it works for the majority of the crowd happily sipping chocolate martinis and eating gussied up potato skins.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    *I realize Del Toro is small plate 'concept', I mean small size in relation to price charged.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

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  • Post #4 - March 3rd, 2006, 9:29 am
    Post #4 - March 3rd, 2006, 9:29 am Post #4 - March 3rd, 2006, 9:29 am
    G Wiv wrote: It was almost as if the food was given a flavor lobotomy to make it acceptable to a wider range of people.


    Ah, now there is a profitable concept!

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #5 - March 3rd, 2006, 10:22 am
    Post #5 - March 3rd, 2006, 10:22 am Post #5 - March 3rd, 2006, 10:22 am
    I ate there a month ago, and to sort of echo the other posters, the only two dishes I can remember are the fried chickpeas (mine were not oversalted, but were served fresh out of the fryer so they were very hot...a great munchy bar food type thing) and the marinated white anchovy montadito, which was outstanding. Everything else was mediocre. Service was prompt and informed, but I think the wait staff was bored...it was a Tuesday, I think, and the place was fairly empty.
  • Post #6 - March 3rd, 2006, 10:52 am
    Post #6 - March 3rd, 2006, 10:52 am Post #6 - March 3rd, 2006, 10:52 am
    I organized a holiday dinner at Del Toro, in mid-December on a Friday night. We had a group of 12, which the restaurant had a hard time accomodating. I understand a Friday night is tough for a restaurant to hold a table for 12, especially during the holiday season... I am patient and do not expect top-notch service in that situation. That being said, they would not sit us until every member of our party arrived, troubling since several of my friends are (how shall I put this)... always late.

    We ordered just about everything on the menu. As mentioned before the portions are small. Not an issue for me when dining alone or as a couple, but when trying to share with 12 people it quickly became an issue. How do you cut up a small piece of pork belly in 12 pieces? I was amused by the presentation of the patatas bravas, almost served like a maki roll rather than the steaming pile of spicy potatoes you'd expect.

    When the bill came, the shock set in. We ended up paying $60-70 per person (didn't drink much) and had about 10 bites of food total. The quality of the food was mediocre, but when you put a $7 price tag per bite I was tremendously disappointed. When you add on the $10 bar bill from us standing around while waiting for our already set up table... quite a pricey evening for my pocketbook.

    All in all- not an establishment I'd recommend for a group.
  • Post #7 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:17 am
    Post #7 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:17 am Post #7 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:17 am
    Something about Del Toro, the hipness, the scene, the 60s thing that they tried to eradicate and only made stronger... somehow it all makes me want to go on The Dick Cavett Show and interview myself about it:

    Image

    You seem to dwell on the clothes of the other patrons--

    Dwell? I don't think I was dwelling. Noticing--

    Well, you have some rather pointed, sneering comments. Should that really matter?

    It wouldn't matter if the food was good. Avec, which targets the same hip crowd, and which Del Toro's exterior seems to be rather consciously trying to copy (among many other influences they jumble up), is a terrific restaurant--

    Yes, I had a wonderful evening with Truman Capote and Dr. Joyce Brothers there recently. Superb.

    But Del Toro, it seems to me, is an example of Mike G's rule, which is, if there's a reason to go somewhere other than the food, the food's no good. And the reason to go to Del Toro is the scene, not the food. That's not snobbery, or even if it is, it's also a fact.

    But you seemed to like some things-- the anchovy montadito--

    The entree-type things were almost a complete botch, though. One was good, two or three were rockets that blew up on the launchpad with no survivors. That's not good, when you completely fail at the stuff with the higher price point.

    Maybe it's an appetizer kind of place then. It is Spanish, after all, tapas.

    I could accept that if there had been any kind of intellectual consistency to them. If they'd all been as simple and authentic as the montadito, this would be an estimable place, one that, like Avec, pursued a certain simple but consistent ambition.

    But the fact is that the small stuff was all over the map, too. It's hard to believe that those awful potato creations, which look like they belonged at a wedding reception in Des Moines, came from the same kitchen as the anchovy dish. The worst kind of plastic food--

    But isn't that what Spain is all about right now?

    Plastic food?

    Not plastic, but the kind of experimental, artificial food that chefs like Ferran Adria are making--

    The owners of Del Toro will be sending you a check for mentioning them in the same breath--

    --But I read a piece, I believe it was in Slate-- or maybe it was something Groucho said to me once-- anyway the point is that Adria's high concept food has some resemblance to the kind of fake food made by big corporations--

    Yes, the idea is that they're both in the business of breaking something down and reengineering it to deliver an artifically heightened flavor. I think there's some truth to that. But it has nothing to do with the fact that this place serves something so foodservice-crappy just because they can make eight of them in two little rows on a plate and they look so cute and they get six bucks for them. If you're going to play that Adria game, you have to deliver a knockout to the tongue and a tickle to the mind. We have restaurants in this town that do that, successfully.

    But let's forget about the potato things. The real issue is, I think, the ham--

    Mmm, jamon serrano, one of the glories of Spain. The Galloping Gourmet was on last week and he made--

    It should be one of the glories! But what we had looked pretty but had none of that complexity and gaminess, I guess you can call it, which I have had at least a little of in jamon serrano which I've bought to cook with. And I doubt that what I can buy at Whole Foods represents the very best stuff being brought into America, let alone being made in Spain.

    Are they toning it down because they fear that a ham with a little funkiness would scare their crowd? That they'd send it back as being spoiled?

    I think that's a real possibility, and one I have some practical sympathy with, but you know, if you're going to be a real Spanish restaurant that's what you have to serve and educate people a little. If you're going to be a Spanish-themed restaurant, then you can serve this slightly-better-than-Hormel stuff and offend nobody.

    So you see this as being a restaurant with a Spanish concept, not a Spanish restaurant.

    I think you have to see it that way, yes.

    Is Spanish a concept that's going to continue to be successful, then?

    I think it could be THE next big concept, absolutely. It's Mediterranean comfort food, yet different from Italian which has gone so middle-American, it's got the hipness factor of Bilbao and chefs like Adria and so on, it's a colorful, nightlife-oriented culture-- I can definitely see Spanish food going mainstream in the next few years, being the theme of big splashy standalone restaurants in mall parking lots called Bar-Celona or Jamon Jamon! And I think hip urban restaurants serving an Americanization of Spanish food are the first step toward that. But where's the real, high quality Spanish restaurant in Chicago? We're still waiting for that one to appear.

    We have to take a break-- when we come back we'll have John Lennon and Phyllis Diller. Don't go away.
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  • Post #8 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:42 am
    Post #8 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:42 am Post #8 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:42 am
    Mike G wrote:Something about Del Toro, the hipness, the scene, the 60s thing that they tried to eradicate and only made stronger... somehow it all makes me want to go on The Dick Cavett Show and interview myself about it:

    Image


    !Dame mas! This was great.

    With Erik's initial reportand this thread, it sounds like there's not a lot of depth here, foodwise.

    z
  • Post #9 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:51 am
    Post #9 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:51 am Post #9 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:51 am
    Mike, you last post brings up 2 things I thought about Del Toro -

    A) The reason (apart from the food) that Avec works and Del Toro doesn't is that Avec actually seems somewhere that, if I happened to be passing by, I could happily pop into, grab a seat in the bar (or try to, at least), have a couple of glasses of beer or wine or whatever, have a few snacks, and then saunter off home. I can't imagine passing by Del Toro and wanting to do this. Therefore, as a Tapas place, it is a complete failure in my opinion. And, as Gary says, the bar is most uncomfortable.

    B) Did you really sense any kind of Adria influence on the food on Del Toro? I didn't. There actually are some tapas bars in Spain (mainly run by ex-El Bulli cooks) who are managing to combine the Adria Stuff with the basic tapas bar concept, so I was kind of hoping that Del Toro might have a bit of this going on. Having said that, that kind of food is very hard to do well, so it might be a good thing that they don't try...but it would have at least won them points for doing something interesting. Instead, I just thought the menu fell between two stools - it wasn't good, traditional spanish tapas, but it wasn't creative or interesting either. Oh well.

    Speaking of which, I hear Adria is in Chicago at the moment. He was spotted at Alinea last night. 8)
  • Post #10 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:53 am
    Post #10 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:53 am Post #10 - March 3rd, 2006, 11:53 am
    Did you really sense any kind of Adria influence on the food on Del Toro? I didn't.


    No, that was sort of for purposes of argument. It made good television...

    I note, incidentally, that Erik pretty much nailed the few good dishes first time out (although he liked the pork belly, but who knows, it could have been prepared correctly that time), as did Geli shortly after. If you must go, the reports are quite consistent about what's good and what's not; you would be wise to follow them.
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  • Post #11 - March 3rd, 2006, 12:38 pm
    Post #11 - March 3rd, 2006, 12:38 pm Post #11 - March 3rd, 2006, 12:38 pm
    Mike G wrote:Something about Del Toro, the hipness, the scene, the 60s thing that they tried to eradicate and only made stronger... somehow it all makes me want to go on The Dick Cavett Show and interview myself about it:


    I've already sent MikeG one "You Kill" email today, so I'm not going to use that device twice in one twenty-four hour period, but this parody/food commentary is jaw-droppingly witty...and actually more informative (or at least more "impactful") than a regular post with the same information.

    Also, let us note that neither the ever-inventive MikeG nor his eminence, GWiv, resorted to the food-sucked-but-the-company-was-great trope, as so many of us have after a lousy dinner that's balanced by the genial presence of fellow LTHers. It's almost as though nothing could rectify the dismal offerings set before these bold adventurers into culinary mediocrity. There, but for the grace of Demeter, go all of us. Thanks for taking one for the team, for eating at Del Toro so that we don't have to. And won’t.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #12 - March 3rd, 2006, 1:29 pm
    Post #12 - March 3rd, 2006, 1:29 pm Post #12 - March 3rd, 2006, 1:29 pm
    I can definitely see Spanish food going mainstream in the next few years, being the theme of big splashy standalone restaurants in mall parking lots called Bar-Celona or Jamon Jamon!


    Quick! Copyright those ideas now before somebody else does.

    Could pay for your boys' college educations and a summer home, too.

    Giovanna
  • Post #13 - March 3rd, 2006, 1:52 pm
    Post #13 - March 3rd, 2006, 1:52 pm Post #13 - March 3rd, 2006, 1:52 pm
    Giovanna wrote:
    I can definitely see Spanish food going mainstream in the next few years, being the theme of big splashy standalone restaurants in mall parking lots called Bar-Celona or Jamon Jamon!

    Quick! Copyright those ideas now before somebody else does.

    Too late. For a while now there’s been a Bar Celona in Wrigleyville (not completely unlike a mall parking lot). Here are a few sentences copied directly from their website:

    Bar Celona has a all new menu, with the same Great Flare. Come on out and check our new Flavors. MEXICAN, CALI, SPANISH, CUISINE
  • Post #14 - March 3rd, 2006, 1:56 pm
    Post #14 - March 3rd, 2006, 1:56 pm Post #14 - March 3rd, 2006, 1:56 pm
    Rene G wrote:
    Giovanna wrote:
    I can definitely see Spanish food going mainstream in the next few years, being the theme of big splashy standalone restaurants in mall parking lots called Bar-Celona or Jamon Jamon!

    Quick! Copyright those ideas now before somebody else does.

    Too late. For a while now there’s been a Bar Celona in Wrigleyville (not completely unlike a mall parking lot). Here are a few sentences copied directly from their website:

    Bar Celona has a all new menu, with the same Great Flare. Come on out and check our new Flavors. MEXICAN, CALI, SPANISH, CUISINE


    I wonder if the GRILLED PORTABELLA PANNINI is from Mexico, California or Spain...hmmm
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #15 - March 3rd, 2006, 2:00 pm
    Post #15 - March 3rd, 2006, 2:00 pm Post #15 - March 3rd, 2006, 2:00 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    Bar Celona has a all new menu, with the same Great Flare. Come on out and check our new Flavors. MEXICAN, CALI, SPANISH, CUISINE


    I wonder if the GRILLED PORTABELLA PANNINI is from Mexico, California or Spain...hmmm


    Oh, come on, David -- it's obviously from the flavor "CUISINE" :)
  • Post #16 - March 3rd, 2006, 2:32 pm
    Post #16 - March 3rd, 2006, 2:32 pm Post #16 - March 3rd, 2006, 2:32 pm
    Great stuff Mike, thanks. I was instantly reminded of the SCTV episode where Rick Moranis' Cavett was interviewing himself and my mind's ear heard the whole post in Rick's voice. If you are taking requests for future "episodes" I'd like to see something in a 60's Merv Griffin, please ("ooooh, potato skins, ooooooh"). :lol:
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #17 - March 3rd, 2006, 2:52 pm
    Post #17 - March 3rd, 2006, 2:52 pm Post #17 - March 3rd, 2006, 2:52 pm
    I didn't hate my meal there, but I sure did dislike the 'scene'. When I arrived there for dinner, one of the local stations was filming a segment at the bar. They cleared out and over the next two hours the front half of the restaurant was filled with happy, bright, girls-night-outers with trendy handbags and overpriced shoes. And a dusting of Wicker Parkers.

    Those lil spuds (Patatas Bravas) really reminded me of tater tots...adultified. I had to wipe off the alioli because their cute lil dimples were just too full o' the stuff. Ick and yum. I ended up eating the whole plate because my pregnant companion wouldn't touch the raw yolk product. Fried Potato + Alioli + Tomato = happiness. 8*(Fried Potato + Alioli + Tomato) = Patatas Bravas hangover.

    I didn't even sniff a little Adria there...I'm not sure what that odor was. And a couple weeks later, I can't even remember -- not a great sign.

    I would definitely go back -- if someone else were paying. Someone I didn't like.
    CONNOISSEUR, n. A specialist who knows everything about something and nothing about anything else.
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  • Post #18 - March 3rd, 2006, 3:25 pm
    Post #18 - March 3rd, 2006, 3:25 pm Post #18 - March 3rd, 2006, 3:25 pm
    Zeeshan wrote:With Erik's initial reportand this thread, it sounds like there's not a lot of depth here, foodwise.


    Yes, thank you, Zeeshan.

    When one keeps the initial reports squarely in mind an important question is raised:

    Were the wives of Mssrs. G & Wiv led to believe that their husbands were going to Del Toro for the food? :twisted:

    E.M
  • Post #19 - March 3rd, 2006, 4:05 pm
    Post #19 - March 3rd, 2006, 4:05 pm Post #19 - March 3rd, 2006, 4:05 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Service was fine, even with the overeager bus-staff, bartender, while no Henry Bishop, knew his booze and the front of the house handled their jobs with ease.


    I am not sure which bartender you had, but the first time we went I wanted a Negroni. After explaining about 4 times, shouting, because it's SO DAMNED LOUD in there, I didn't end up with one. I gave up and ordered a campari and soda, and never got that either. The next time we stuck with cava - and they were out of the one on the menu, so they gave us a much nicer one at the same price.
    Leek

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  • Post #20 - March 3rd, 2006, 5:29 pm
    Post #20 - March 3rd, 2006, 5:29 pm Post #20 - March 3rd, 2006, 5:29 pm
    Why, er, yes, Erik, I believe that one or two of the young lasses were rather attractive, at that.

    I believe Mr. Wiv might be able to reconstruct one or two lower back tattoos entirely from memory, as well.

    Yes, as I said, it will take several more visits to come to a final judgement on Del Toro....

    I was instantly reminded of the SCTV episode where Rick Moranis' Cavett was interviewing himself and my mind's ear heard the whole post in Rick's voice.


    I dimly remember that, now that you say it, Kman. Clearly my subconscious remembered it better and suggested Cavett as the natural choice for self-interview... my next one will be in the voice of Dave Thomas' imitation of Bob Hope....
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #21 - March 4th, 2006, 1:29 am
    Post #21 - March 4th, 2006, 1:29 am Post #21 - March 4th, 2006, 1:29 am
    The most depressing thing about this rehash of the tapas theme, which first rolled through Chicago before I even got here, is that it has been repackaged in some kind of quasi-hip Dusk Till Dawn thing that, to my cynical eye, rips off a similarly depressing/entertaining place in LA, Cobras y Matadors. I don't think they are going for Adria here, more Tarantino. Even the name's a rip. Muy estupido.
  • Post #22 - March 4th, 2006, 10:53 am
    Post #22 - March 4th, 2006, 10:53 am Post #22 - March 4th, 2006, 10:53 am
    JeffB wrote:The most depressing thing about this rehash of the tapas theme, which first rolled through Chicago before I even got here, is that it has been repackaged in some kind of quasi-hip Dusk Till Dawn thing that, to my cynical eye, rips off a similarly depressing/entertaining place in LA, Cobras y Matadors. I don't think they are going for Adria here, more Tarantino. Even the name's a rip. Muy estupido.


    The decor at Cobras & Matadors? Sepia-tinged photos of Los Angeles circa 1920/30.

    That is certainly a far cry from the Pee-Wee's "Big Spanish Adventure" vibe at Del Toro.

    And, hey, C&M can dish out some truly exceptional food:

    lomo saltado
    lentils with crispy jamón
    albóndigas
    grilled octopus
    socca
    lomo embuchado
    pa amb tomaquet...

    Cobras & Matadors
    7615 Beverly Blvd. (Hollywood)
    Los Angeles, CA
    323.932.6178
    [This location is BYO. Wine is available for sale in the adjacent wine shop.]

    Cobras & Matadors
    4655 Hollywood Blvd. (Los Feliz)
    Los Angeles, CA
    323.669.3922

    E.M.
  • Post #23 - March 4th, 2006, 11:49 am
    Post #23 - March 4th, 2006, 11:49 am Post #23 - March 4th, 2006, 11:49 am
    I'm not as impressed, at least by the Los Feliz/Silverlake branch. I was thinking about the target audience and the general vibe rather than specific decor. But maybe I was overreaching a little. But the modern torreador theme seems to be common.

    On the other hand, the best new Spanish restaurant in Tampa (a place with several Spanish restaurants in the 50-100 year old range) is run by a family from Gallicia and the decor looks pretty darn similar to what is depicted about Del Toro. I guess I'm confused, is all. I'm a sucker for the old-fashioned places in Tampa and New Jersey that look like pirate ships inside.
  • Post #24 - March 4th, 2006, 12:03 pm
    Post #24 - March 4th, 2006, 12:03 pm Post #24 - March 4th, 2006, 12:03 pm
    JeffB wrote:... I guess I'm confused, is all. I'm a sucker for the old-fashioned places in Tampa and New Jersey that look like pirate ships inside...


    Yes, Jersey has for many decades had a lot of Spanish restaurants... fairly simple, basic restaurants -- that is, no particular trendy schtick involved -- some better, some worse, but in contrast to Del Toro, they were generally known for giving obscenely large portions, as I remember things... I recall my cousins, over from Italy for a visit, being literally aghast at the quantities of what they received on their plates in one such establishment in Bergen County...

    Antonius
    Last edited by Antonius on March 4th, 2006, 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #25 - March 4th, 2006, 12:03 pm
    Post #25 - March 4th, 2006, 12:03 pm Post #25 - March 4th, 2006, 12:03 pm
    JeffB wrote:I'm not as impressed, at least by the Los Feliz/Silverlake branch. I was thinking about the target audience and the general vibe rather than specific decor. But maybe I was overreaching a little. But the modern torreador theme seems to be common.


    Well, you could very well be right as I haven't been to the Los Feliz location.

    The (original) Beverly location is very close to my brother's place.

    Besides, I enjoy poking around the adjacent wine shop to pick out bottles for dinner. There isn't such an option in Los Feliz.

    E.M.

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