Tapas Bar Brawl-El Quinto Pino vs. Txkito
Last night I couldn't decide between sushi and tapas so i decided to do both by returning to one of my favorites-El Quinto Pino where i could indulge in jamon serrano while still getting my uni fix with their legendary uni panino. I had heard that Alex Raij who had mysteriously left El Quinto pino and tia pol was opening up Txkito but had no idea it was literally around the corner on 9th Avenue. (Maybe a little revenge?) Had to try it. The place is tiny and was mobbed. I grabbed the one open stool at the bar and every time the door opened the wind was unbearable. Had to keep my coat on. The house smoked lomo was the highlight. The albondigas wereinteresting as they came in a shrimp stock. The bartender had already adopted Ed Levine's description of the unusual meat/seafood taste as "surf and turf". The morcilla bundles were, as Ed levine described them, Spanish spring rolls which i didn't think was the best use of morcilla. The chipironnes were very disappointing-actually was luke warm calamri shredded in a sweet onion pine nut gloppy sauce. Some interesting wines including an effervescent Basque white wine. I noticed a lot of the menu items which were Basque inspired seemed to use domestic ingredients. Apparently I was not the only person who thought that nothing on the menu could top the uni panini. So, in true tapas fashion, I crawled over to El Quinto Pino around the corner for a sherry, some jamon and the uni.
Well, maybe having this restaurants a crawl away from each other inches both these places closer to Spanish authenticity. It'd be nice to have a tapas-row so we could all do a little tapas dance from place to place.
Hopefully the campers-clad men stay at their Mom's place in Barcelona.
Oh, it's too late...