Small mouthfuls of crunchy baguette filled with spicy chorizo hash. The fluffy, crisp bread complimented the moist and tender meat perfectly, a great combination of hard and soft, sweet and savory.
Thinly sliced octopus carpaccio smothered in rich olive oil and garnished with fresh majoram, hits of garlic and sweet chunks of piment d’espelette. While slightly chewy, the citrus-infused dish was a bright and refreshing way to continue a meal.
Thick, slightly overcooked stalks of delicate white asparagus with a mild celery-black truffle vinaigrette. Smothered with bland, ugly chopped boiled egg, which detracted somewhat from the dish. White asparagus has a very subtle taste and is often best simply served with olive oil and a hint of seasoning. In this case, the subdued flavors were totally lost.
These tasty lamb meatballs reminded me of traditional Greek keftedes. Just small enough to eat in one bite, these were salty and slightly charred, with a bread-y taste. They were served in a very light minted broth, which added faint, refreshing hints to the dish.
Pil Pil $18
This dish is “legendary,” according to the menu at Txikito. A thin portion of Basque salt cod, poached in olive oil. Covered with a thick, buttery sauce and garnished with chopped, sautéed garlic and a chunk of red chili. Nothing particularly interesting and obnoxiously portioned: not big enough for one person and too tricky to share.
Before we began, my dining companion and I remarked that we were totally fed up of the “small plate” concept. As we found out at Txikito, there’s a good reason why. The portions are too small and awkwardly plated; they’re neither big enough to eat for one nor easy enough to share. We also agreed that a shorter, smaller menu allows a chef to focus on being really excellent at a couple dishes, rather than good at many. That way, a chef can source beautiful, delicious fresh produce, carefully prepare it in the way that he or she wants to ensure the final product is just perfect.
At Txikito, this emphasis on quality is definitely not the case. Not only does the full menu have over 25 small dishes, we were amazed when our server read out a long list of “specials.” The seemingly random (and ongoing) assortment made us wonder what a “special” even meant. How does the chef have time to create all of these on a daily basis? And how does this impact his or her ability to focus on the regular menu? To our mind, it’s all a bad thing. Most of our food was fine but nothing special or memorable. Perhaps it’s the exotic-ness of Basque cuisine but the food at Txikito is unimpressive, the space austere and the prices high.
240 9th Ave.