El Toro Mexican Bar and Grill celebrates the “Fine Foods of Mexico,” serving food made from recipes handed down through the generations. After lots of renovation, the restaurant has the look and feel of dining in a cozy café in Mexico. There are lots of decorative artifacts and paintings to give a convincing feel.
Located in the building on Memorial Boulevard formerly occupied for almost 35 years by O’Charley’s, they offer an extensive menu of appetizers, seafood, grilled steak, burritos, fajitas, plated dinners, vegetarian options, lunch specials, desserts, and lots of items for kids. They also have an extensive cocktail and beer menu. Using the freshest ingredients, their chefs prepare their dishes with exceptional flavors in each bite.
Every category on the menu offers extensive options, including the appetizer menu. There is everything from cheese quesadillias to tacos to nachos to roasted corn to shrimp cerviche. For those who cannot make up their mind, El Toro offers a sampler platter which includes crispy beef or chicken flautas; fried chicken wings; sincronizada quesadillas which are made with thinly sliced ham, Oaxaca cheese; and guacamole. Fresh homemade guacamole costs a bit more, but it is definitely worth it.
Smaller plates are offered ala carte for those who want to experiment or are not looking for a big meal. These include burritos, chili relleno, tamales, tostatas, chalupas, chimichangas and more. Side orders, such as rice and beans, grilled shrimp, grilled chicken, and sliced avocado, can be added.
Entrees are extensive, including a lot of seafood and fish options as co-owner Adan Deleon’s family comes from a part of Mexico near the sea. They have items like fish tacos and shrimp enchiladas, as well as some unique dishes including Pulpo Enamorado con Camarones a la Diabla, Filete Perla, and Sopa de Mariscos.
Pulpo Enamorado con Camarones a la Diabla is octopus or shrimp cooked in red chili butter and served over white rice. Filete Perla is shrimp and white fish baked in a cream sauce with onions, bell pepper, and tomatoes served over their special fish rice. And Sopa de Mariscos is a traditional Mexican fish soup with fish, shrimp, oysters, octopus, scallops, crab legs and vegetables. A Hispanic version of bouillabaisse.
There are also many items from the grill, including steak options, fajitas, and many chicken dishes like Pollo Monterrey which is a grilled chicken breast covered in a creamy ham and mushroom sauce served with mashed potatoes and vegetables or Molcajete el Toro which is steak or chicken smothered with shrimp, carnitas, chorizo, tomatoes, green bell peppers, ranchero sauce, melted cheese and grilled cactus served in a stone bowl.
Pork dishes are plentiful, including Burrito Mexicano and Molcajete al Pastor. The Molcajete al Pastor is pork cooked with chorizo, onions, green bell peppers, and a special El Toro sauce with melted cheese and grilled cactus served in a stone bowl.
Vegetarians are not left out, either. El Toro has veggie fajitas, Enchiladas Rancheras which is three cheese enchalidas topped with grilled tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and enchilada sauce served with guacamole salad and Chalupa Rice and Beans.
Wee ones will find something, too. Including tacos, corn dogs or a cheese burger. Desserts such as a Dulce de Leche, Fried Ice Cream or Flan are the perfect ending to a meal.
A full bar is stocked with an extensive selection of imported beer and top shelf tequilas. Their liquor options include house-made sangria by the pitcher, as well as cocktails like margaritas, mojitos, hurricanes, Mai Tais, and Mexican Vampiros. Vampiros are a fruity and spicy blend of tequila, fruit juice, spices, soda, and fresh lime juice.
While El Toro has many dishes served by most local Mexican restaurants, co-owners Adan Deleon, Carlos Romero and Roberto Enriquez have added many dishes that you will find nowhere else. They definitely offer something for everyone.
El Toro Mexican Bar and Grill
1006 Memorial Boulevard
Hours: Sunday through Thursday,11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.