Restaurants / Openings

Celebrity Chef Shows Off his New Fort Worth Restaurant With Fire, Acrobats and Plenty of Local Love

Richard Sandoval's Toro Toro Embraces Cowtown With Flashy Flair — and Latin Flavors

BY // 11.20.19

Toro Toro Pan Latin Steakhouse and Lounge celebrated in high fashion at its VIP grand preview event. Celebrity chef Richard Sandoval was on hand, personally overseeing the fun. Toro Toro will officially open to the public around Thanksgiving.

DiamondRock Hospitality has partnered with international restaurant group Richard Sandoval Hospitality in bringing the ambitious churrascaria concept to the Worthington Renaissance Hotel in downtown Fort Worth as part of the hotel’s $8 million revamp.

The Fort Worth Toro Toro is the first in Texas, joining sister restaurants in Scottsdale, Snow Mass Village (Colorado), Miami, Washington, D.C, Qatar, Tokyo, Dubai, Mexico City and Belgrade, Serbia.

At the Fort Worth opening, guests walked a red carpet between pillars igniting into flames. The event came complete with performances by aerial silk acrobats and a DJ pumping in Latin vibes. An eye-popping art installation of silvered longhorn skulls dangled over the Toro Toro bar, and the open grill crackled with flames, turning out an array of skewed meats to sample.

The grilled skewers, or Peruvian anticucho, included chicken with Marisol marinade, pulpo (octopus) in a yellow aji marinade with coriander sauce, beef marinated in aji panca (red chile with sake and vinegar) was served with burnt chili aioli sauce and lamb lollipops (thick-sliced rack of lamb) served with orange puree drizzle and minted chimichurri. All were excellent, especially the tender octopus and the perfectly medium rare rack of lamb.

Sandoval aims to get each of his destination restaurants to speak with its own local dialect.

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“Both our general manager and our chef are local and so passionate. That’s the key to our success,” Sandoval tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “I had never visited Fort Worth, but fell in love with the downtown area. It’s so energetic and really ideal for the Toro Toro experience.”

Toro Toro restaurant
Toro Toro is a new showcase restaurant in a dramatically revamped Fort Worth hotel. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

Each Toro Toro restaurant’s menu varies, depending on its location.

Toro Toro’s chef de cuisine, Jason Harper, who owned Trio New American restaurant in Colleyville for a decade, describes the new restaurant as a “Latin tapas-style steakhouse with global influences.”

Two colorful variations of ceviche (tuna and shrimp) were sampled as well this preview night. Pork tacos were passed ― folded in silken flour tortillas, as well as steak-topped flat breads. Desserts included Mexican chocolate cheesecake and sweet empanadas.

A complete reboot of the Worthington Renaissance Hotel’s lobby and bar area is part of its ongoing upgrade. All vestiges of the 1980s have now been effectively erased from the hotel.

The bar’s lounge area is now vast, bleeding from Toro Toro’s bar on the right, into the hotel lobby, with many intimate seating configurations. The mix will provide a perfect spot to meet clients and friends after work, to enjoy the many shareable plates on the menu.

Two specialty cocktails were on display at the lavish celebration. One was a fresh-squeezed citrus margarita topped with a sweet, pink hibiscus foam, and a rum-based version of the classic Manhattan, served over ice rocks which had been branded with Toro Toro, and a similarly branded orange peel garnish.

At the separate front entrance to Toro Toro is a room surrounded by wooden cubbies, filled with special sipping tequilas. It will become home to private tequila lockers for guests to keep their own stash of their favorite bottles and brands. Party-goers were treated to samples of ultra-smooth, Don Julio 1942 sipping tequila on this night.

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