Txikito-best tapas in town
The squid in its own ink was simply the best i ever had. Every dish however was fantastic including the fries with the spicy cod roe mayo, the leeks, little grilled cheese sand with shrimp & mushroom. We hear that the folks at tia pol and quinto pinto are shaking n there boots and apparently it is fully justified. The only downside are the pitiful and overpriced "cocktails" stick to beer and wine for now.
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The original comment has been removed
Loved the arraultza -- canape of bread topped with shreds of chorizo, sofrito and sunny side up quail egg. All of the flavors really went well together and it was really scrumptious.
Pulpo carpaccio -- beautifully presented dish; octopus was very tender and well seasoned
Fries with spicy cod mayo -- the mayo was pretty addictive
Albondigas -- meatballs in shellfish broth -- was not seasoned at all; very bland even when I tried to eat it with the shellfish broth; I think the chef forgot to add salt; had to eat it with the leftover mayo
Squid ribbons with sweet onions and pine nuts -- While DH liked this dish, I thought it reminded me of eating chewy rubber bands; the sauce was delicious, though
Lengua -- thin pieces of tongue with breaded and deep-fried and served with cornichons (which were chopped up) and a mustard sauce. Probably not my favorite dish as I HATE pickles and prefer my tongue stewed or boiled versus fried; But it was a well-done dish
Pig's feet and tripe and chickpeas and tendon served in a stew -- tasty; tripe was super tender (which is a good sign)
Chocolate flan -- not a flan at all but more like a pot de creme served with brandied whipped cream. Delicious.
Muscato cake -- basically a pound cake studded with flambeed grapes and served with a dollop of creme fraiche; Simple and yummy
So overall the food was pretty good. I didn't like the tongue, but that was because of my own personal preferences as opposed to the dish not being well prepared. The only big miss was the meatballs, and I think it was probably a mistake on the chef's part. And I also didn't like the squid. The service was great -- everybody was super nice and attentive.
However, I do have to say I have to complain about the prices. As some of you may know, I almost never complain about prices. Per Se -- totally think the price justifies the meal. Eleven Madison Park -- think that it's actually a bargain compared to what you're getting. I felt that Txikito's prices were on the high side. It seems that they lowered the price of many of the items by a dollar but cut down the portion size. For example, the canape of chorizo and quail egg used to be a dollar more. But they served three of them. Now, they only serve two pieces. Trotters, tripe and tendon are pretty cheap cuts of meat. And chickpeas are very cheap as well. But they charged $15 for a small portion -- perhaps 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup. The amount of fries were on the small side -- probably the size of McDonalds kids meal size. Charging $7 for them, in spite of their yummy mayo, seems a bit too much. Prices were probably in line with something like Casa Mono -- but Casa Mono's portions are about three times the amount.
That may be the reason why the restaurant was not crowded at all on a Saturday night -- the value isn't very good. Co. next door was pretty packed. The weather was beautiful, and almost all of the restaurants we passed by were pretty full. Txikito is unique in that it is the only restaurant I know of in NYC that serves tapas from the Basque region. But tapas aren't really supposed to be this pricey, and I do have issues with paying $15 for a tiny portion of offal and beans. It almost seemed like they were charging these prices because offal has become trendier these days. So even though I enjoyed most of my meal, I don't foresee going back there unless somebody else really wants to go.
You're welcome. Including 1.5 glasses of wine per person, the out-the-door cost per person was $93. We were pretty stuffed, but have paid much less than that at Casa Mono feeling like we were going to burst. I can understand the higher prices with some of the dishes like the octopus and squid because there was a great amount of labor involved to cut up the seafood. But I felt that the other dishes really didn't justify the cost at all.
re: Miss Needle
Great report, Miss Needle. That report will keep me away from Txikito because I, like you, don't mind paying when there is value in return. However, if the gave me a tiny portion of fries and charged me $7, it would taint the entire experience for me. That's just the way I am, so I appreciate very much your report.
Yeah, that kind of bummed me out. When I saw the pics on serious eats, the portion size didn't look too bad.
But I really think they cut down the portions in a major way since that report was posted. There was about 1/3 less fries compared to the pic. There were only 2 pieces of arraultza compared to the three in the pic. And there was actually one more meatball in my dish, but the meatballs were about 1/2 the size of what is pictured there. As I haven't ordered the other dishes that serious eats featured, I don't really have any comments about portion size for those.
re: Miss Needle
I've had just about every dish usually on the menu at Txikito. Most of them are good, especially the Basque canapes (those txitxikis are very addictive). However, I have the same problem as you do, the price. Things add up really fast there. Their wine list is also limited and overpriced. My check always end up over 100 per person. Good, yes, but worth it? probably not.
Finally went with a friend last Tuesday. Short wait against the wall. It was a bit crowded, but, thankfully, very well air conditioned, and the service was quite cordial and good at updating us about the expected wait time. I think we waited about 20 minutes for a 2-top around 9pm.
Had the octopus carpaccio. I think the octopus, while very tender, was sliced too thin, but that may be a personal preference. I don't want chewy octopus but the thin slices really took away any of the textural fun of octopus.
The king oyster mushrooms sliced thinly (special) were excellent. Meaty, savory, fragrant. The olive oil and tomatoes on top were fantastic. Perhaps a bit repetitive compared to the octopus (something savory sliced super thin and covered in olive oil.)
Crisp fries with spicy cod roe mayo and felt kind of like a Greek-Belgian crossover to me what with the mayo and the cod roe. Tasty, simple, good. I would get this again.
Crispy blood sausage filled bundles were nice. I really love a good blood sausage. The taste and texture were spot on. They came as four finger sized rolls but were well-filled. A little heavy but good to share. I would gladly order this again.
Navarran white beans, Buchot mussels, white wine, parsley -- not really my thing. I'm not a huge fan of white bean soup in the first place but my friend wanted something a little lighter. And this was definitely not as heavy as the fries or blood sausage bundles, but I've had better white bean soups (and better ones in Spain come to think of it!). I probably wouldn't order this again.
With a glass of txacolina each, it came out to about $55pp. The food was very tasty and while not the cheapest Spanish place around, you're definitely paying a premium for the Basque authentiticity. Overall, very good and I'm glad we have another Basque restaurant in town but I can't help but feel that it's overpriced (like Miss Needle).
I liked it more than Alta or Boqueria, but in the end I'd rather go to Degustation or Casa Mono (although that's kind of an apples and oranges comparison).