Young and Hungry

Sneak Peek of Pan-Latin Steakhouse Toro Toro

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If three's a trend, Latin steakhouses are officially trendy. Chef Victor Albisu brings a South American flare to his meat-centric Chinatown restaurant Del Campo, while Philadelphia-based celebrity chef Jose Garces plans an Argentinian steakhouse at the Loews Madison Hotel in the coming months. Rounding out the trio is Toro Toro, a "pan-Latin" steakhouse and small-plates restaurant from chef Richard Sandoval (of Masa 14 and El Centro D.F.) opening March 31. Toro Toro also has locations in Dubai and Miami.

Toro Toro looks to be the clubbiest of the three, with a basement lounge that will feature a DJ on weekends and banquettes with bottle service. Animal hides continue to be a hip decor trend. The restaurant's downstairs bar chairs and restroom doors are covered in cowskins. Meanwhile, the upstairs dining room could best be described as prison chic: The room is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling metal bars, and the predominant color is jumpsuit orange.

But hey, at least the menu looks more appetizing than cup of noodles, bologna sandwiches, and pruno. Chef Stephen Hartzell, an alum of Zengo, now-closed Potenza, The Tasting Room in Frederick, Md., and most recently El Centro D.F., will head the kitchen. Among the steak options is the "rodizio experience," the Brazilian take on all-you-can-eat. For $79 per person, tables of four or more can try two small plates per person plus unlimited servings of seven types of meats including ribeye, sausage, and lamb chops (some carved tableside) and side dishes.

The Peruvian-heavy dinner menu is split into hot and cold small plates ($8-$16), which include ceviches, lamb antichucho skewers, empanadas, and a smoked guacamole. Hartzell says one of his favorite dishes is the seafood arepas with prawns, calamari, scallops, and habanero chili.

A smaller selection of small plates are on the lunch menu, which features more salads, burgers, and sandwiches. Steak entrees are also available for the old-school power lunchers. There will also be a weekday lunch buffet for $25 per person.

Check out the full lunch and dinner menus below.

Toro Toro, 1300 I St., NW; richardsandoval.com/torotorodc

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