You can eat ‘patatas bravas’ manchego and jamon at every Tom, Dick and Harry tapas bar; take off your training wheels here, and hit these sick pintxos. White anchovy and salmon roe on toast (boquerón montadito) - delivers a mouthwatering meaty sea brine rush. Salt cod fritter with salsa vizcaína (buñuelo de bacalao vizcaína) - light and velvety with a tempura-like crust, and veal tongue montadito with pickled white asparagus and mustard - refined seasonal cucina povera. A heaping basket of fried pig ears and bottles of sagardoa are mandatory for sharing. Crunchy and well blistered on the outside, with slightly molten cartilage inside; rarely this good elsewhere.On sunday they rolled out grill onto the patio and fired to order fresh sardines with grilled pan con tomate. Ask for a salt shaker and extra lemon wedges, everything benefits from a final spritz.
Their cider program is ambitious and warrants a Vox explainer of its own. I lean towards the ones fermented by native yeasts; their best ciders, capture some basque soul with more depth and longer finish (ANXO - Collab #5 made with ‘foraged and basque apples’). But too much cider geekery can diminish from the experience for me… the value play is to crush some tallboys of Old Pro Gose or bottles of txakoli to keep the party going, order more fishy fried stuff, rinse and repeat.
The bar interior is clad in salvaged wood, original brick, fashionable iberian patterned tiles and bronze light fixtures, with somehow well dampened acoustics and abundant natural light. Outside the tiered patio overlooks picturesque row houses on Florida Ave. Chill AF in the late afternoon after the brunch rush.
My struggle here is without fail, someone has to recount their semester abroad in ‘España’ and how they drank 4€ ‘tinto’ from a ‘bota’ at the Plaça then ate free ‘tapas’ at the bars and so on… all spoken with an affected Catalan lisp… and i'm just imagining hip North Arlington families in the dining room upstairs, eager to tell their server about their upcoming trip to San Sebastián. But i’ll deal with it.