Toro Kitchen and Lounge opened in the Viceroy Snowmass back on Dec. 15 and since then has quietly filled up for dinner throughout the winter. The upscale pan-Latin offerings come from restaurateur Richard Sandoval.
Like the family of Toro restaurants worldwide, the menu features dishes with a variety of international influences. Appetizers and entrees include Thai style pork ribs, grilled Spanish octopus, Hawaiian tuna poke bowls and, yes, steak. The high-concept dishes are meant to be shared. An introduction on the menu states “Across Latin America, food is more than a meal. It's an event. It's a celebration that is shared, savored and enjoyed with the finest spirits.”
Indeed. Not to be missed during après or along with dinner is the sharp cocktail menu, with fruit-filled takes on classics. Think passion fruit pisco sour and blood orange michelada. The signature cocktails all include a long list of exotic ingredients and a little flare; the “southside” mule includes pineapple-rosemary shrub. The Bacardi 8 Year rum-based “Painkiller” seems to live up to its name and is served in a giant copper pineapple, an oddly garish touch compared to the new, subtle interiors of the restaurant.
The Viceroy underwent a $4 million interior redesign this season, including a reimagined restaurant. While the previous space was low lit and perhaps uninviting to those not on a first date, the new space welcomes families and romance alike. Yes, the feel is upscale, but there is also a kids menu. Large windows circle the dining room and a lounge area by the bar features couches and a fireplace.
Toro means “bull” in spanish, but it also means “tuna belly” in Japanese. From an 8-ounce filet to a 16-ounce ribeye, all of the steak options can be topped with grilled avocado and crab, caramelized onion and blue cheese or lobster.
However, when it comes to the surf-and-turf interpretation of the Toro name, the standout is by far the surf. The Hawaiian tuna “Nikkei” is a ponzo ceviche that is as fresh as it is flavorful. The scallops are gigantic and cooked with the perfect combination of crisp and creamy textures. The salmon is flaky and moist.
Like the cocktails, the dinner menu takes classics and adds flavor flare. The salmon comes in a ponzu broth that you’ll want to lick off the plate, and a parmesan crust makes the scallops slightly sweet. Speaking of sweets, don’t miss the chance to order a rich espresso to go along with your dessert. For a valley that doesn’t specialize in caffeine, an afternoon stop into the Viceroy is worth it for that alone.
While the shop joins Sandoval’s plethora of other restaurants, running operations day to day is executive chef Herb Wilson, who competed alongside Sandoval on Top Chef Masters and is joined by executive sous chef Alberto Figueroa. The team has a good thing on their hands, and as Snowmass Village builds out, Toro is primed to be a centerpiece for meals shared, savored and enjoyed with the finest spirits.