Paella is one of those dishes that restaurants rarely get right. It usually takes too long to cook for a typical restaurant, and using shortcuts often cuts into the quality.
Fortunately, Chef Juan Carlos Bazán at Toro Kitchen + Bar hits his marks and serves a paella that any home cook would be proud to claim. The rice is properly cooked, while the other ingredients add — but don’t overwhelm — the rice, and the pan has the proper socorrat, or toasted layer at the bottom.
I liked Toro a lot, and wrote about it for my first restaurant profile in San Antonio Magazine. Overall, the dishes were very good. On a Saturday night, a table on the patio with a guitarist playing Latin standards made for a wonderful experience.
There were a couple of service flubs that should not have happened. Another table received our order, and the kitchen had to remake our order quickly. Still, I’d recommend the tapas, the paella, the good selection of gin-tonics and the very satisfying and smooth sangria.
Although I learned how to make paella several years ago in preparation for the inaugural Paella Challenge , and love to make it at home, sometimes I appreciate the opportunity to enjoy somebody else’s — and I really appreciate that I don’t have to clean up afterwards.