Monday, May 17, 2010

El Toro - Dayton, Ohio

I took one of my favorite clients to lunch today and she suggested El Toro, since it was right down the street on Harshman Road and she couldn't spare much more than an hour. I'd eaten at the one on Old Troy Pike before and remembered not being terribly impressed,but figured they may have made some improvements over the last year or so.

For having an empty restaurant, our server was pretty anxious - asking if we were ready to order after just being seated and given menus. Uhhhh, no - of course we're not ready to order. Our menus haven't even been opened. Once we had a chance to peruse, I ordered the carnitas (with a side of guacamole), mostly out of curiosity to see how they would measure up to my own.

I apologize for the bad cell phone pic, it really did look more appetizing than this. Of course, there were the standard yellow rice and refried beans (which tastes like the rice and beans at any other Mexican joint), and the carnitas were big 2-3" chunks of pork tenderloin. Not a bad thing, per se, but also NOT carnitas. They're supposed to be relatively shredded, very moist, and very flavorful. Now, had I ordered big chunks of pork tenderloin, I would have been okay with this dish. They were cooked nicely (not too dry), and well seasoned if we're just talking regular pork. I didn't pick up on any hints of cumin, chiles, or any other run-of-the-mill Mexican flavors. They were served smothered in grilled onions, though, so that helped amp up the flavor factor just enough to save me from being quite a bit sassier about the situation. I'm pretty sure the menu also advertised a tomatillo sauce they'd be served with, which I never got.

The other huge disappointment was the guacamole. Considering even Chili's can serve halfway decent guac, I was really miffed to see the bowl of neon green mess that came to the table - and also happened to look AND taste exactly like Dean's Guacamole flavored dip that you can find at any major grocer. It was masked with sour cream, and entirely too sweet. Gross.

The service continued to be unimpressive, with our server disappearing just as our drinks ran empty and we really needed to get our check. Overall, it was just okay, and that doesn't get it in my book.

2.5 out of 5 sporks


Post a Comment