Chefs Josh Cross and Rick Frame first met back in the 1990s while working for Bruce Auden at Biga. Both have had plenty of high-end dining experience under their belts since, such as Cross’s Olorosa.
So, naturally, they’ve teamed up for a taco bar.
Toro Taco Bar at 114 Brooklyn Ave. is an east side, open air patio with street tacos and quesadillas served up alongside an icy Carta Blanca with salt encrusting its long neck and a slice of lime perched on the rim.
“Rick had the spot and has been doing improvements for about 1 1/2 years,” Cross says. “And one evening at Robbie Nowlin’s Wicked Nights supper club series, Rick told me his idea of Toro and half jokingly asked me if I’d like to come aboard. This version of food and drink was exactly what I wanted to do back here in San Antonio. Basically, we’re two chefs making drinks and snacks.”
It’s not really as simple as that, though both Frame and Cross appear to be enjoying the laid-back atmosphere of the place — and the attention the place has received in the two weeks or so that Toro has been opened. Old friends in the restaurant business, curious restaurateurs and hungry diners alike have kept the place busy since it’s been open.
Frame and Cross have kept up with the demand, while settling into their business routine. In the evenings, you can find music, sometimes live and sometimes from a DJ, filling the night air while you savor the likes of cabrito guisada tacos or campechana filled with fresh shrimp, oysters and more.
Cross described the menu as “playful and interesting” as well as “ever-changing and evolving.” “Our ’empanadas’ so far have been poblano and mushroom pop tarts and cabrito hot pockets. Our quesadillas are nopales, corn, goat and calabaza with huitlacoche,” he says. “I’m toying around with the idea of chicarrone poutine.”
What this all means is that “we have a high standard of quality, but aren’t taking ourselves too seriously,” Cross says. “The drink program mirrors the food. We have a ton of tequilas, mescal and sotols. Our beers will encompass all of Mexico and Central America. I’m still working out the wine list.”
Both chefs take pride in the fact that everything is made in house. Everything, that is except for the tortillas. “I couldn’t do as good of a job as Adelita’s,” Cross admits.
Toro Taco Bar is the latest hot spot to open on the east side. It’s near the new Alamo Brewing Co. and not too far from Amaya’s Tacos, Dignowity Meats and the revitalized Tucker’s Kozy Korner, all of which are making the neighborhood and exciting area for really good food and drink.
Toro Taco Bar is open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Monday. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information, click here.