Octopus as a main ingredient is trending in Miami, so it seems fitting that it’s a signature small plate at the recently opened Toro Toro Pan-Latin steakhouse. Set in the InterContinental Miami, this sexy lobby restaurant, courtesy of renowned chef Richard Sandoval, is fast becoming a downtown gathering place for sports fans, concert buffs, theater-goers, shoppers and the business crowd.
If “sexy” and “lobby” sound oxymoronic, rest assured that Miami’s hotels are anything but blasé. The InterContinental, located in downtown Miami near Bayside Marketplace, a long-running outdoor mall along Biscayne Bay, and American Airlines Arena -- where the Miami Heat play -- has been a go-to place since before South Beach was reinvented. The newly redesigned Toro Toro, with its planked wood floors and ceilings, brass fittings, hand-blown fixtures and white marble accents, brings high style downtown.
In fact, Sandoval deliberately chose the setting, familiar as he is with Miami, which he calls “one of his favorite cities.” The chef is also the operator behind the fast-casual concept, Kokoriko Natural Rotisserie, which is located only about a mile away in the Brickell commerce and entertainment region. “Toro Toro Miami pays homage to the warmth of Latin American hospitality and the tradition of lively, family-style dining. I think it’s a great concept for a city as unique, vibrant and colorful as Miami,” Sandoval, a James Beard Award nominee, says.
On the menu of Sandoval’s contemporary steakhouse, which was modeled after his successful Toro Toro in Dubai, seafood and beef vie for attention. While grilled options provide a la carte filet mignon, jumbo prawns or anticuchos skewers spearing shellfish, lamb and beef, the tastiest cuts of steak and poultry, ranging from picanha to lamb chops to achiote-marinated chicken, are carved at the table and served family style. These can be fairly filling, so a small plate like the octopus, with its piquant spice and foil of potatoes, is a very Latin and oh-so-Miami way to begin a meal.
Can't get to Miami anytime soon? You can try making Sandoval's Adobo Octopus at home...