Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette recently brought their Spanish tapas-influenced Toro down from Boston to a new, cavernous space on 14th and 11th. We caught up on why they transferred the concept instead of developing a new one, what excites them about New York, and how their unique partnership is one of balance and respect.
'Ken Oringer' on Serious Eats
Ken Oringer's five Boston area restaurants—including the flagship Clio in the Eliot Hotel, sashimi bar Uni, pizza and salumi bar Coppa, taqueria La Verded, and the original Toro in Boston's South End—are still key players in the Boston scene, but the new branch of Toro recently opened in Chelsea is his first move in New York. Here's a look at how their paella, a large-format dish in several variations, is made.
A sherry-based daiquiri, four different gin and tonics, and more at the new Toro spinoff in Chelsea, with Spanish-inspired food from the chefs behind Boston's Clio, Uni, and Coppa.
With 15 chefs cooking 15 courses for Clio's 15th Anniversary dinner, if food is really the new rock (as some claim it to be) and chefs the new rockstars, this was like the Bonnaroo of meals. That would make me the roadie of the meal, lending a hand here and there, mostly just honored to work with such talent. Take a behind-the-scenes look at all the action and the food.
You can now head down to Uni's sashimi bar any Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night after 11pm to slurp $10 bowls of ramen or chow down on a couple of duck buns, along with fine cocktails, of course. Take a look at everything on the menu. My recommendation: the Umami Ramen. It's everything right about fusion and utterly delicious.
I often get asked where ideas for the recipes I write come from, and it's an interesting question to me. For the most part, I think that the world of chefs and recipe developers can be divided into two major camps based on the way they operate. I'll call them the Improvisers and the Tinkerers, the Mozarts and the Beethovens, the Intelligent Designers and the Evolutionists, if you will.
La Verdad, the Fenway Park taqueria, wouldn't be the first place to come to mind if someone asked me to name the best Ken Oringer restaurant, what with Clio, Uni, Toro, Coppa, and now Earth in Maine to contend with. But ask me for a favorite Ken Oringer dish, and top seed would probably go to La Verdad's Chile Relleno Torta ($9.95). It's crazy good. So good that every time I eat it, I mentally slap myself on the back of the head for having waited so long since the last time.