It is a rare occurrence that I find myself in New York City with no plans. Normally I am scheduled all day and night, looking to squeeze in additions (Grom, anyone? How about a jaunt to H&M? I missed out on both this trip). But earlier this week, I was in just that situation, until my cousin’s bowling league game got pushed back a few hours. She immediately texted me: What are you doing for dinner? My response: Meeting you? We met at Txikito, a Basque restaurant on ninth avenue.
Admittedly, I am not always eager to go to places that I can’t even begin to
guess how to pronounce, much less ones with 45 minute waits for tables. I checked in, went across the street to check out their other place (a bar, which apparently has food) and came back. Miraculously, the 45 minute wait was reduced to about 10, so we were willing to wait. Incidentally, it is pronounced chic-kee-toe, or in my world “place with yummy food even if service could use a little tune up.”
I was a little alarmed by the sheer number of dishes on the menu that had some sort of pig product in them, but after hearing the specials, I was confident that we would not go hungry.
We started with a bottle of Artazuri Garnacha 2009 ($44 on the list), which was fruit forward, balanced and (in my not so humble opinion) a good pick. Next came the food. It was for the most part delicious. The lamb meatballs and the cold asparagus dish (with egg and black truffle) were the weakest links. I really had high hopes for the asparagus and may have felt differently about them had they shown up at the beginning of the meal, rather than as the last course.
We started with roasted eggplant, which came with a creamy yogurt-y sauce
and tomatoes. delicious. It was lick-the-plate good. It was the best way to start the meal, leaving us anxious to see what would be coming next. Turns out it was the fries with spicy cod roe mayo. I don’t normally like mayo, but I was double-dipping my fries into this one.
I was hesitant to order the croquettes because in Spain I found them to be ham-filled everywhere I went. Here they were made with cod and were quite good. Not as good as Azur in Key West, but good.
Another one of the specials was an oyster mushroom dish. In a light broth
and well spiced, it came with little toasts in a make-your-own crostini kind of fashion. I loved this dish. I would eat it every day if I could. I am not kidding, it was that delicious.
We left the restaurant and headed to Port Authority where her bowling league games happen. Yes, the same Port Authority that is the bus terminal. I have only been there to take a bus somewhere out of town, so I was skeptical, to say the least.
But there was a bowling alley, and it was pretty nice. They were short team members, so I had to pick up the slack. I am such an unimpressive bowler, however, that they may have been better off without me. Nonetheless, it was a good time.
The whole trip was great, despite the snow in (gasp) October. I am, however, glad to be home in the land of no socks.