Ceviche and steak and more
Downtown's hottest hotel fires up new steakhouse from renowned Latin American chef
The comprehensive renovations taking place at the Four Seasons Hotel Houston include a new restaurant from a chef who’s known as the “Father of Modern Mexican Cuisine.” Richard Sandoval will bring his Latin American steakhouse Toro Toro to Houston this fall.
Toro Toro will replace Quattro on the third floor of the Four Seasons. It deepens Sandoval’s relationship with the luxurious hotel; he’s also the mind behind Bayou & Bottle, the hotel’s stylish, whiskey-obsessed lobby bar. Overall, Richard Sandoval Hospitality operates over 50 restaurants worldwide, including five in Texas.
Quattro, an upscale Italian restaurant, had a good run, but the time had come for a change. Sandoval tells CultureMap that the hotel’s ownership approached him about introducing a more “relevant” concept that would be more in line with downtown’s dynamic restaurant scene.
“All the elements from Toro made sense for downtown Houston,” he says. “That’s how we came to the realization of doing Toro Toro.”
Named for a word that refers to both “tuna” in Japanese and “bull” in Spanish, Toro Toro offers a lighter, fresher take on steakhouse fare. As Sandoval explains, he developed the concept after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates asked him to create a modern take on the Brazilian churrascaria that kept the wood-grilled meats and tableside touches but replaced the traditional salad bar with shareable items. It will be the second Toro Toro in Texas, joining a Fort Worth location that opened in 2019.
“It’s been successful all over the world,” Sandoval says. “We have it in Tokyo, in Belgrade, Istanbul, Dubai, and Qatar. The reason I think it works is because of the dynamics of the menu.”
Instead of creamed spinach and shrimp cocktail served at traditional, American-style steakhouses, diners will find dishes inspired by Chifa (Chinese-Peruvian), Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian), Mexican, and Brazilian cuisine. A meal may start with shareables such as tuna Nikkei ceviche, lomo saltado empanadas, or grilled octopus. Entree options include individual steak and seafood dishes or large format platters that includes lamb, ribeye, and picanha.
Those dishes are paired with wines sourced from Latin and South American countries and classic cocktails such as the margarita, the mojito, and the caipirinha.
Brunch will continue to be a focus, but Sandoval will replace Quattro’s buffet with his “bottomless” concept that offers diners a selection of plates that are made fresh to order. The restaurant will also be open for breakfast and lunch.
New York City-based firm Meyer Davis, which also created the hotel’s renovated lobby and ballroom, will be responsible for transforming Quattro into Toro Toro. Details include a spacious lounge and bar area, an open kitchen to showcase the restaurant’s wood-burning grill, and artwork created by Houston-based female artists. Plans call for a 74-seat main dining room, a 10-seat private dining room, an 8-seat “speakeasy,” and plenty of space for corporate and other private events.
“When you think Latin America, whether it’s Peru, Mexico, or Brazil, you think festive,” Sandoval says about the design. “We’re trying to get a contemporary looking restaurant, modern, but also very warm and comfortable.”
Work has already begun to bring Toro Toro to life. Sandoval says that so far everything is proceeding on schedule for a fall opening.
“This is an exciting opportunity to expand upon the success of our existing partnership with Richard Sandoval Hospitality to bring a new elevated and interactive dining experience to Houston,” Tom Segesta, general manager of the Four Seasons, said in a statement. “Richard’s global reputation coupled with the continued success of his culinary partnerships with many of our sister Four Seasons properties will be the perfect addition to our city’s vibrant dining scene.”