El Toro is a pretty well-regarded Dayton chain, with nine locations up and running right now. It serves good stuff aplenty, offering fast and economical tex-mex cuisine for people all over town. It’s a convenient choice and one is always nearby in this city, but for one reason or another I never managed to try it before now. I’m never one to turn down Hispanic cooking of any flavor — in fact it might be my favorite food to write about. It’s high time I gave the place a try, and it was really very good.
I’ve always heard that people liked this place, and after sampling the lunch specials I was amazed.
- Chimichanga: A chimichanga for six bucks? It’s hard to get anything for that price these days, and the chimichanga was great. It was crisp and the perfect size for a lunch meal, not overwhelming. It can be served with chicken or beef, but the meat was prepared well either way so that was just fine. The rice was very good, which was not something I expected. The beans were good. The veggies were about average.
- Chips and salsa: The salsa is great — It definitely tastes fresh and made in-house, with plenty of cilantro. Though, the tomatoes could be canned. The guacamole is good, it also tastes fresh and textually is great. So are the chips and tortillas. I would say it’s the ideal balance I like fresh ingredients but I don’t want to pay a fortune for lunch. I like everything handmade but I don’t have time to spare. Balance.
- Huevos Rancheros: The fried egg dish is heavy on the thyme and other spices which sets it apart from the average kind of dish. Served with corn tortillas to make it more a lovable mini-burrito.
The service is good, and the atmosphere is nice. It’s the typical “fast casual” idea; dark oak and polished wood made the location I visited feel very clean and neat, sort of like a finer dining experience, but the large bar also makes it a good place to get a drink. They have a substantial margarita menu.
There are a ton of places like this one around town, and I would agree with some the other online reviews that at times they’re interchangeable when the price points are the same. Though, I definitely think El Toro holds its ground against its many competitors, and I think it’s the kind of place that’s worth a visit. Whether you want a quick and economical lunch or you’re in the mood for a drink with a group, I think you’ll find El Toro will be a pleasant experience.
- Really, the awesome lunch specials make this place perfect for lunch. If you’ve never gone then, I recommend it.
- If you’re going later at night, might I also suggest a margarita?
- I prefer the beef dishes over the chicken, they’re better seasoned to me.