Civilian : Toro, New York

June 18, 2014

It’s a long time since the area around Chelsea Markets and the old Meatpacking District was “cool” in an edgy, as opposed to Standard-ised, way. The New York outpost of Ken Oringer and Jamie Bisonnette’s tapas-style restaurant Toro, launched in 2013 after eight successful years in Boston, clings slightly – fondly, one feels – to the locale’s former industrial blankness; access is via a short exterior staircase like a truncated fire escape, on whose side the restaurant’s name is spelled out in lengths of gaffer tape. Inside, you heave aside a heavy curtain and look on to a wedge-shaped space so filled with noise you can almost see it. Somewhere beneath all the chatter and hubbub, there is (frankly unnecessary) mood music: the all-too-familiar looped whoop of “Jump Around”, a song that is now 22 years old; the House of Pain in question is probably an arthritis treatment centre.