I love brunch. I love Spanish cuisine. I love live music. A wine paired brunch? Sure! Plaza del Toro offered all of these amazing elements during their last Sunday Service brunch! Each Sunday Service has a theme and an amazing price fixe menu, offering a wide variety of sweets and savories that pay homage to specific theme or food region. The most recent brunch menu was named Almuerzo, which is lunch in Spanish. 10 courses of amazing Spanish food…..I’m I heaven. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Plaza del Toro is the creation of restaurateur John Gorham, chef/owner of Portland’s Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, Tasty n Alder and Mediterranean Exploration Company (MEC). I finally had the opportunity to eat some of his incredible food, without waiting in line! Yes, brunch is available by reservation;)
The space is grand, with tall ceilings, big windows, exposed beams and huge spherical light fixtures. Regardless, of the large, open space, it remains cozy and inviting! A wood fired oven is situated at the end of the dining room. It shares a portion of an exposed kitchen, where a meat slicer and large plating station sit. Throughout the meal, gorgeous t-bone steaks are pulled from the fire and carefully sliced for a lucky recipient.
We are seated at a long, communal table and presented with a price fixed menu. For $35 we will get 10 courses of amazing, Spanish cuisine. Does it sound like a lot of food? It is! Thankfully, we showed up with empty bellies, so we could enjoy everything:)
Additionally, a wine paring is available with the meal for an additional $35. Given the fact that it is 10:00 in the morning, I decided to go with a Spanish Rosé from the Basque Region, about halfway through the meal. It was perfect! Pick your poison….There is a full bar available!
The meal started with a warm Spanish pastry. I have been assured by Jason, that it was delicious, buttery like a croissant and sprinkled with powdered sugar (I couldn’t eat it, since I’m GF). Then a plate of Spanish chorizo was brought out. Spanish chorizo is much different than the chorizo in Mexico. More mild, less spicy, more smokey and complex. It’s sliced up like salami. I highly recommend it, if you’ve never tried it before! I nibbled on the chorizo throughout the whole meal.
Next on the menu was the Spanish tortilla. Tortilla Espanola or Spanish Omelet is the one of the most commonly served dishes in Spain. It is also called Tortilla de Patata or Potato Omelet. Bars and cafés in Spain serve it as a tapa or appetizer, but it is often served as a light dinner. It is made with layers of potatoes and eggs and is served at room temperature. Here, greens were added to the tortilla, adding beautiful color. Finally, it was served with romesco sauce and a dab of saffron aioli. Amazingly, simple and tasty! A small plate anchovies en escabèche (pickled Spanish fish) was brought out as well! One of my all time favorites. They can be found in bars and restaurants across Spain but it is most commonly found in Andalusia, in the South of the country. This is largely due to the fact that they actually derive from Moorish cuisine. We were also served a small taste of gazpacho…..Very good!
My favorite part of the meal was next! Grilled octopus! Ok, I know this is not for everyone, but hear me out. It is delicious if it is prepared correctly. They managed to grill it to perfection! Do you know how hard it is to make octopus soft and tender and not rubbery?! And the accompaniments of cannellini beans, mint, cucumber and black chili sauce were beautiful, as well as tasty. I especially loved the addition of cannellini beans. And the portion was generous! Honestly, it was so good, I forgot to get a picture of the next tasty course, which was the baked eggs….oops.
At this point, my tummy is in need of a rest! Thankfully, the courses are spaced out nicely, to allow you to enjoy the food and the ambiance. Did I mention that there was a Spanish guitarist on the premises? It really added to the atmosphere. Music is an important part of the brunch here. Depending on the brunch theme, you might catch a DJ spinning some tunes:)
The fire roasted t-bone was next. Thinly sliced, it was served with a combination of potatoes, roasted padrons and heirloom tomatoes. There was a nice vinegar vibe to the vegetables. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish it! 2 hours into the meal and I was done!
The next course was churros with chocolate dipping sauce. It was a massive quantity! My husband took one bite, just to assure me that they were perfect and then he promptly had the rest of them boxed, to enjoy later. Last, but not least was the chocolate bonbons…..a perfect ending to this decadent feast!