Earlier this month, I got to do something that is inherently cool, and that is to tour the West Wing of the White House. I may not agree with or like the current occupant, but the building itself and its history are pretty awesome, and to be respected. Tours happen after business hours, so the friend of a friend who was to give us the tour got off duty, we would meet for dinner and then head over for the full tour afterwards.
The original plan had been to go to the Old Ebbitt Grill, which is a bit of a DC landmark. It’s the kind of place that lawmakers and the who’s who can be spotted eating, but it’s not very modern in its style or tastes, and it was our bad luck that the night we were doing our tour, they had no availability at the time we needed. So as the most DC-knowledgeable person in our group, I was tasked with picking an alternate dining location. I booted up Open Table to see my choices, and narrowed it down. After some back and forth with my friend, we decided on Toro Toro, a “pan-Latin” restaurant serving small plates. This was not a restaurant I’d actually heard of before, but upon visiting their website, I noticed that their executive chef is Richard Sandoval, who previously had the restaurant Zengo in DC’s Chinatown which the Boy and I had enjoyed at least once. And Sandoval has LOTS of restaurants all over the world, and had also appeared on Top Chef Masters.
So I was optimistic. The menu is extensive, and for our little group would be perfect. We had a picky eater, some not-so-picky eaters, and me with my dairy restrictions. Having such a wide variety of things on the menu meant that we would all be able to find something to our liking. We met our friends at the bar where they were enjoying their drinks, and then went to sit down in a cozy corner all to ourselves (which, it was 5:15pm, so I’m not surprised there was no one else there, even on a Saturday!)
One of the options on the menu is “unlimited small plates” for $39 per person. If you add another $10, you can include the grilled meat plates, and another $20 per person adds unlimited drinks. Since none of us were that hungry, we ended up passing on the offer, and also, if one person at the table gets it, everyone has to. But it was tempting – so tempting that the Boy and I have decided that we might need to get a group together at some point and do the unlimited plates and drinks and make it worth our while. That kind of dedication will require a babysitter for at least a few hours, and probably wouldn’t be compatible with breastfeeding, so it’s on hold until sometime next year.
But anyways, you ask, how was the food? The food was very tasty. I had some excellent pork belly tacos, yucca fries and broccolini. The Boy had ceviche and a beet salad. I also got to taste the bacon brussels sprouts my friend ordered, and guys – it was all just good. Maybe the caipirinha I drank was a little on the strong side, and maybe it was the joy of being out having dinner with a group of adults and not having to worry about the baby for a stretch of time, but I just really enjoyed myself. The dinner was super tasty, and we really enjoyed ourselves. Like I said above – there are plans to go back and see if we can conquer the “all-you-can-eat” small plates and drinks. It may not be Michelin-star style dining, but it’s fun, (relatively) fast, tasty, good for a group, and it’s not boring. High praise indeed when it comes to DC dining.