Toro Toro: Cachapas

Toro Toro Cachapas

If $79 doesn’t sound like a deal to you, give us a moment to change your mind. That’s how much the Rodizio Experience costs at Richard Sandoval’s latest iteration Toro Toro. By latest iteration, we mean they opened this week. We also dare to say it’s Sandoval’s best DC concept to date.

For that chunk of change you get unlimited small plates (there are 27 to choose from), unlimited sides (there are six), plus the entertainment of handsome young men visiting your table with skewers of seven different kinds of meat (and one hell of a grilled pineapple). Someone might want to get these strapping lads some cougar repellant though…

Toro Toro

The rodizio meats were all executed well, especially the chorizo, which tastes a bit like it made friends with a Kiełbasa. But, the Best Thing on the Menu is a small plate selection: Cachapas a.k.a. duck carnitas served under corn pancakes topped with oaxaca cheese and tomato jam. The good news is that you’ll be ordering this dish multiple times, so you’re likely to get the pronunciation down at some point. Wherever they eat this for breakfast, that’s where we want to move.

Another top pick from the small plates section is the seared seafood ceviche. Prawns, calamari, and scallops swim in a milky ginger, sweet potato broth that gets some help from habanero peppers.

If you want to experience Toro Toro with the vibe volume turned up to 10, check out the grand opening party featuring DJ Robbie Rivera from 10 PM to 3 AM on April 5th. Get your tickets here.

Cachapas not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Top Five Eats to Beat the Heat

DC is at the height of swelter season and so we thought we’d provide some recommendations on five treats to eat in the heat. If you venture out in the humidity, head to the following five spots for these cool dishes.

Mari Vanna's Borscht1. Mari Vanna’s Cold Borscht

Borscht is the perfect chilled, colorful summer soup. Unlike its hot winter counterpart, laden with beef, potatoes and sour cream, this vegetarian version is light and refreshing. Just don’t wear your best summer whites to eat beets. For more on what to order at this charming Dupont Circle Russian establishment (besides vodka), click here.

B TOO's Fried Orange Sherbet2. B TOO’s Fried Orange Sorbet

This is like the tempera ice cream you would beg your parents for when they “dragged” you to a sushi restaurant to “expand your horizons” when you were little. Fried ice cream is back with a bang at B TOO. This temperature impossibility sits atop sweet, candied fennel and is surrounded by fried basil leaves. Quite simply, it’s summer on a plate. For more on this Top Chef-studded Logan Circle restaurant click here.

Sushi Taro's Sashimi Omakase3. Sushi Taro’s Sashimi Omakase

You may not know the meaning of the Japanese word omakase, but chances are you’ve eaten a tasting menu or two in your time. Omakase essentially means you’re getting the top, chef-recommended selections of the day. And at Dupont Circle’s Sushi Taro, where they fly in a large portion of fish from Tokyo, you’re in for a wild ride. Sometimes, it’s far more fun to let the experts decide! There’s nothing steamy about sashimi, it’s light and fresh and the perfect summer eat. For more on Sushi Taro, click here.

Del Campo's Scallop Ceviche4. Del Campo’s Grilled Scallop Sushi Ceviche

It’s sushi, no it’s ceviche, no wait, it’s both! Del Campo continues to turn out great grilled items and this one in particular is perfect for warm weather. The scallops sit atop nigiri sushi-like rice mounds and are adorned with a smoked uni sauce. A little bit of raw, and a little bit of heat. We just visited Del Campo in Chinatown and had the special opportunity to interview Chef Victor Albisu. Click here to hear his thoughts on the most popular, and most daring, menu picks.

Teddy's Crab and Avocado5. Teddy’s Crab and Avocado

Teddy’s is a great second edition to the presidential-themed dining establishments in DC. We admit that Dupont Circle’s Teddy might be a little more fun in the winter, when it’s time to pack on the pounds by eating game meat, carbs from the heartland and rich desserts. However, there are a couple items on the menu today that are ripe for summer consumption. The best of which is their crab and avocado dish served with grilled corn and a sauce that’s worth soaking up with their homemade breadbasket. See our pick for Best Thing on the Menu here.

Agree/Disagree with our top dishes? Tell us in the comments section or on the BTM Facebook page.

Del Campo: Rolled Wagyu Skirt Steak

Del Campo's Rolled Wagyu Skirt Steak

Del Campo is exactly what DC has been waiting for: It’s the answer to our cooped-up in-condos-without-a-grill gripes. At Chef Albisu’s South American asado oasis, flames have kissed everything from cocktails to dessert.

In a special interview with Best Thing on the Menu, Chef Victor Albisu elaborated on his grilled cocktail menu, grilled ceviche, smoked caviar and a very umami-tasting smoked uni sauce. In addition to adding smoke to almost every dish, he also pays homage to his heritage. His mastery of meat comes from observing butchers from Uruguay and Argentina at his mother’s shop in Northern Virginia; his perfect empanadas are an inspiration from his Cuban baker father; and the fresh and feisty ceviche is a gift from his Peruvian mother.

Chef Albisu pointed out some of the most popular picks including the octopus causa and wagyu empanadas. He said more daring guests order the beef heart anticucho, which contains both grilled and raw elements. However, the Best Thing on the Menu is the: Rolled Wagyu Skirt Steak.

He got the idea for this rolled flavor powerhouse from a dish in Argentina called Matambre. Tender skirt steak is stuffed with Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard and burnt onions and then rolled and braised. We noticed that the dish came with grilled veggies and a stick of bone marrow, just for fun. In our interview, the chef explained that the bone marrow is a gift from the kitchen that plays the roll of adding richness, like butter typically does, at American-style steakhouses.

You may need to run your mouth through the neighborhood car wash after dining at Del Campo, but the addictive chimichurri sauce, creative cocktails and ability to get the gourmet grill fix we crave will keep us coming back.

If it’s easier for you to visit Del Campo by day, Chef Albisu has launched Street Food Fridays, where he steps onto the street to cash in on the mobile cuisine craze to offer chorizo sandwiches called “choripans.”

We also look forward to visiting Chef Albisu’s Taco Bamba next time we ‘burb out in Falls Church, VA.

Rolled Wagyu Skirt Steak not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

Table: Ricotta Fritters

Table's Ricotta Fritters

Shaw is becoming a more meaningful, flavorful place to dine, and Frederik de Pue’s Table is a big contributor to the trend. Everyday Washingtonians gained big time when Chef De Pue joined the commercial culinary scene after doling out delicious food in diplomatic circles for many years.

If there is one word to describe Table, it’s honest. The proteins are pristine, the vegetables fresh and local, the service knowledgeable and the menus handwritten. The flavors are not the only thing at Table that are neat and clean, the restaurant itself is recognized for its Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL). The décor makes you feel as if you’ve entered a rustic secret garden that only you, and close friends, know about.

For the first time ever, a dessert is debuting on Best Thing on the Menu. This first-ever featured sweet simply can’t be missed. Table’s Best Thing on the Menu: Ricotta Fritters with Orange Blossom Honey and Blueberry Port Compote is a stand out. Warm, gooey mini beignets are stacked high ready to be dipped in sweet and chunky blueberry preserves. No matter how full you are from appetizers and entrées, you can still make room for these. After all, some cultures say you have a second stomach reserved solely for desserts.

Table’s menu changes frequently, but we hope with all of our hearts, that they don’t touch the dessert offerings.

Other notable dishes included the scallop ceviche perched atop a sweet and succulent corn cake, the luxurious and rich duck roulade and their peculiar poultry options, which included guinea hen and squab. In need of some pretty pictures known as food porn? Table’s gallery is something special, and puts other food photography in its place (ours obviously included).

Ricotta Fritters not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.