Pintxo - My Review
This is a summary of my experience at Pintxo.
Overall: It was good food and nicely balanced in terms of 'heaviness' that could accompany such a menu. I chose the a la carte option rather than the Degustacion.
(Mache, chorizo, rio tinto cheese, grape tomatoes, balsamic)
- A nice start to the meal. The chorizo was not overly salty and went well with the dressing. A simple pedestrian dish but done well.
White Asparagus wrapped in Serrano Ham
(A single slice of ham with a few cooked spears, all garnished with fried leeks)
This dish was a little too watery for my liking. As you cut into the 'wrap' liquid would spurt out the end result was a somewhat bland dish despite the salty ham and the onions. The asparagus was kind of lost.
Filet of Basque Cod with pepper and tomato sauce
(pan-seared filet w/ mustard mash and tomatoes)
The fish was amazing. Not much going on in terms of spicing but the crust was stupendously good. Minor slip up... instead of the pepper/tomato sauce, this came with mustard mashed potatoes; which turned me off...IMO the other sauce would have been better.
Scallops on Chorizo Tapenade
(seared sea scallop with sauteed chorizo, red roe?)
Just meh. I was expecting something more as this was a staff rec., but was underwhelmed. IMO, the scallop, though perfect in itself was overpowered by the chorizo and this was the only dish that left me without a balanced mouthfeel. It felt a little too rich.
Grilled Shrimp on Red Pepper Sauce
(2 jumbo shrimps in a peppery broth)
One of the stars of the evening. Perfect in all aspects
Lobster Tail w/ Fennel
(2 tail halves w/ fennel salad)
Another good dish. This was the special pintxo of the day and though double the price (disclosed later) kinda worth it.
Quintet of Grilled Vegetables
(neat stack of eggplant, red + green tomato, Artichoke and cucumber, grilled and topped with fried leeks in a balsamic sort of dressing)
I found this to be a welcome respite from the menu. I ordered it twice just to balance the palate some.
Braised Beef Cheek
(exactly what it says, served w/ mash potato)
Not my fave dish, but good. The cheek was succulent and melt in your tender. mash was meh
Mushrooms w/ duck confit
(hollowed out 'shroom, duck, confit)
I liked dish. The size is what made it IMO, any bigger and it would seem too much.
Thats all folks. I skipped dessert but they had a cheesecake, a nougat ice cream, chocolate creme brulee and one other I can't recall.
And now, I fell like a thanksgiving turkey and am gonna go for a walk before hitting up APDC tonight.
I doubt it. Here is where I have been in the last 3 days:
- La Cepa
- La Cuchara de San Telmo
- Bar Bergara
- Casa Alberto
- Fuego Negro
...there are more. Other than Fuego Negro they all serve the same thing with varying degrees of heft. For example, Bergara offers the classic chorizo and cheese but with two slices of chorizo sandwiching a slice of cheese, rather than one alice of each on bread.
Interestingly the best one Pintxos I had were at a randomly picked bar, last night called Casa De Alava. For once, I did not see the same tuna in brine with an olive et al
We went last month when we were visitng wonderful Montreal. LOVED it at Pintxo! Don't remember all the plates we ate. Had wonderful wine and the service was ok...got a little crazy around 9'ish when the place was packed to the rafters. My only complaint is that the waiter told us that the plates we ordered would come at different times...so there were times when I had a plate in front of me and my husband had nothing...even when we ordered the same plate. (shrug). Regardless, we'd go back in a heartbeat.
Got back from Pintxo's about an hour ago. I had already eaten dinner but I was passing by and remembered hearing good things about the place so I stopped in and sat at the bar for a quick snack and a sip. Also I had no wine left at home and the SAQ was already closed...
I just ordered 3 Pintxos with wine flights to get a feel for the place. I know very little about Spanish wines so I let my waiter be the guide. He was quite amicable and provided me with a few samples, taking my assessments into consideration to couple up each dish (sorry I was a bit tipsy and tired and didn't feel like taking notes so I have no idea about the exact specifications). I started with the Galician Octopus, followed by the seared Foie Gras w/Lentils, finishing with the Blood Pudding w/Apple Compote. The octopus was the worst dish of the evening. The slices of the cephalopod were so thin and the dish was so salted that it just tasted like a salty slice of potato soaked in olive oil and sprinkled with paprika. Sad, as the texture of the octopus was spot-on and I am sure that if I were able to discern the individual taste, it would have been good. Also, this dish was the smallest of the lot with roughly 1/8th as much octopus as foie gras on the following plate. Quite strange as foie is more expensive than octopus... The foie gras dish was a step up in size and taste but still flawed. The piece of foie was of high quality but unfortunately it was not seared properly, no browning of the surface providing the needed texture contrast to not get the impression of eating a large boogers (delicious, fatty duck liver booger as it may be). It was similar to when someone tries to sear foie on a non-stick pan with the heat at medium-low. The accompanying lentils were a bit dry (it was around closing time for the restaurant) and in my opinion, not a complementary match for the foie. My final dish was by far the best of the evening, it is because of the black pudding that I will return for a proper dinner to sample a wider range of their pintxos. Perfect texture, perfectly spiced, generous portion presented in a thin (slightly crispy, ever so slightly flakey) pastry cradle. The apple compote was mixed in, providing a deliciously sweet foil for the savory pork blood pudding. It was also the least expensive item of the evening. Speaking of prices, all were more than is listed on the website. I don't remember exactly but I think around 50% more in general. 3 drinks, 3 pintxos: $60 out the door with tax and 20% tip.
Going over the review it may sound as if I am bitching a bit (sorry, I'm from NYC) but I did enjoy my visit to Pintxo. The wine pairings were wonderful and the waiter was top-notch, striking the perfect balance between friendliness and professionalism (something which waiters in Montreal occasionally seem to have trouble with). He was never hovering but always there within 20 seconds of my water or wine being empty. The food was nothing exceptional but I will definitely stop in again (hopefully with friends) to get a more complete feel of the menu. Given the close proximity to my current flat, this place could be a great early evening/late evening stop for snacks and a drink. If anything, this meal showed me that I need to spend much more time exploring Spanish wines.
The Octopus is a meant to be a carpaccio preparation with Cava. You didn't mention the Cava portion, so i am guessing the kitchen crewed up.
This is another of a trend I have noticed at Pintxo, They have some pintxo's that they intended to serve for people and when making them for one, they can't seem to scale it back properly.
When you go next (you know you will haha), order the stack of grilled veggies and the any of the seafood pintxos. I find those to be the most consistently well prepared.
Oh for prices, as with NYC, any specials of the day are 2x the price of a menu item, but often it's worth it (e.g. Lobster tails)
Went last night. Had 6 pintxo's. They were all pretty tasty. Only complaint is that they're tiny portions. Also the prices on the website are cheaper than at the restaurant. We had 12 pintxo's one glass of wine and a frozen nougat desert for 120$ with tax and tip. Left hungry though. Id go back again, it was a pretty good experience.
I haven't been here in a year. I went yesterday and ordered 22 pintxo for 4.
Highlights include the strawbery & gazpacho soup, the celeriac soup (soup of the day), beet+salmon tartare, garlic shrimps (no brainer), saddle of lamb (a revelation), eggs and cod (no brainer), and lobster tail.
I didn't like the half quail, fig+cheese (I can make better at home), and asparagus+serrano.
$150 tax included w/o wine.
The kitchen sent them out in a light to heavy taste order which was nice.
I'll add my review to this thread too. After hearing so many good things about this place, I just had to go.
At first me and GF wanted to try the degustation menu. Although I was more set on picking my own pintxos. The fact that they don't bring you 8 different ones but 2 x4, made us decide to go a la carte.
A lovely glass of cava made picking out the pintxos much more relaxing. We opted for:
- slivers of cooked octopus, served on roasted red peper and potato
- shrimp on marinated crab meat with roasted red pepper
- marinated sardines on advocado
- scrambled eggs with cod
- cooked squid with caramelized onions
- grilled vegetables: eggplant, zucchinin, tomato
- torchon de foie gras on lentils and sherry vinaigrette
- braised cheeks in sherry sauce
- morcilla de burgos: blood sausage with apples served in an edible cup
- clam, artichokes and serrano ham
- baked fig with manchego cheese and honey
- quail legs on mini orechiette
The stars were the foie gras (perfectly cooked, perfectly balanced), figs (simplicity but great flavor), clams (great flavor combinations) and the blood sausage. The squid and eggs with cod had good flavor but one dimensional.
The waitress recommended a bottle of Mas Elena (Pares Balta), red organic wine from Penedes. Saw the bottle at the SAQ the next day and immediately bought it.
Honestly I was expecting Basque style tapas (pintxos). There was definitely a Spanish influence, but I wouldn't call this your typical tapas restaurant. I consider this fine dining.
The shared chocolate creme brulee wasn't really noteworthy.
The service was perfect. Invisible. And present when needed. Knowledgeable wine advice. Also honest. (When I ordered an old Spanish brandy, the waitress came back and informed me of the hefty price tag of this particular brandy and gave me the opportunity to reconsider my choice). We never felt rushed. We arrived at the restaurant at 8:30 pm and left around midnight.
12 pintxos, 2 glasses of bubbly, bottle of red wine, 1 dessert, 2 coffees, 1 brandy for about $185 (including tax & tip).
Negative: (I am really nitpicking here.)
The small dishes were picture perfect, but the novelty of layering food quickly wears off. This food trend is hardly contemporary, it even feels dated.
Very nice review, thanks for your thoughts estilker! That Mas Elena is a really lovely wine for the price, I'm glad you were able to still get some at the SAQ. Great price/quality ratio for sure.
Thanks for reminding me about the fig. It is a lovely dish for sure.
I'd agree that every time I've went, the service had been impeccable. They have an excellent staff. It is very reliable.
It does not have to be either or. They do let you order the tasting menu for one person and have the other person get a la carte, and you could share all the dishes. This works very well as you get to taste whatever the kitchen chooses to put out and at the same time you get to pick those pinxtos in the menu that you absolutely wanted to try.
I'm going to post my review here so as to not create a new thread.
2 of my friends shared the cote de boeuf for 2 + 3 pintxos while I shared 12 pintxos with another friend:
-Strawberry Gaspacho: not bad tasted like a savory smoothy.
-Shrimp and Crap duo: good but not one of the standout dishes.
-Quad of veggies: good vegetable dish, especially enjoyed the rtichoke and the eggplant.
-Shrimp with red pepper sauce: perfectly cooked shrimp, sauce is subtle.
***the 2 next dishes were specials and the waitress informed us they were meant for 2 as they were twice as big as a normal pintxo(so these were counted as 4 pintxos):
-grilled lobster tail over fennel slaw: awesome dish, perfectly cooked lobster tail split in 2 slightly charred giving it a smoky taste, well seasoned. Fennel slaw was refreshing with a great sour bite that cut through the richness of the lobster
-Roasted saddle of lamb with butternut squash puree and micro greens: AMAZING, great flavor, medium rare, tender. Squash puree added a sweet note to the dish. Highly recommended if it's still on the menu
(the 3rd special was rabbit over polenta which we didn't order)
-Goat cheese Ravioli: Loved them, one of the best of the night without a doubt. Super delicate, great savory flavor, I could eat 20 of these
-Mushrooms stuffed with duck confit: my friend really enjoyed this, great earthy flavors.
-braised Beef cheeks with grainy mustard smashed potatos: delicious, tender, meaty cheeks and potatoes with a nice kick to them. What more can you ask for.
-Seared foie gras over lentils with sherry vinaigrette: perfectly cooked foie, melted like butter, sherry doused lentils were the perfect contrast.
I also got a taste of the chorizo and blood sausage pintxo and it was INSANELY good.
Next time I would definitely order: Raviolis, blood sausage, beef cheeks, saddle of lamb(if it's still there), foie gras. Those were my standout dishes and I greedily wanted one for my own.
Only disappointment was the main that my 2 other friends ordered. The meat was tasty but had so much fat ( like 30% of it was fat). It was well seasoned and the sides(manchego asparagus) were great though.
We will definitely be back but next time I ain't sharing.
FYI, 5 or 6 pintxos plus a main is quite a bit if you're planning on ordering that for yourself :)
If you get the cod pintxo and love it, the fish of the day is usually a larger version of that and always a good option. The beef cheek and lamb shank would be my choice if you didn't go for that, though the potatoes that come with them are sort of hit or miss unfortunately.
In addition to the ravioli, cod and foie gras with lentils, my 3 other preferences from the menu would probably be the duo of crab and shrimp, the stuffed fig, and mushrooms with escargot and parsley oil. My wife's favorite is the strawberry and bell pepper gazpacho :)
The beef cheeks rock. Also, if you are fan of blood pudding, get the morcilla. It is very special. But just to warn you, they have a sweet element to them, so if you don't like sweet, not as good a choice. and both the Morcilla and beef cheeks are very rich dishes.
For those who like white wine, don't forget to get a glass or bottle of the Txacoli, which goes very well with the seafood tapas. very light and refreshing, and really easy to drink very quickly! It's a great match with the food, and Txacoli is a very hard to find wine, especially here in Montreal. It is a rare experience. Plus, it is not expensive! Win- win.
Both foie gras pintxos are excellent (the other being with sherry vinegar reduction and lentils). I think the ravioli with duck stew (that and a roll is almost a satisfying lunch for $5!) and duo of crab and shrimp ($4) are probably my other favorites.
To the OP: It's unfortunate they didn't give you the tomato sauce with the cod - that's a big substitution!
Sounds like a nice evening. Too bad the scallops were a bust because scallops and chorizo are such an awesome combo. The other seafood sounds amazing though. I like how cod is having a bit of a comeback these days. All too often it's ruled out as being boring but there are some wonderful things you can do with it.
Nick, it's interesting that you say that scallops and chorizo are such a great combo. I have had chorizo combined with scallops, with oysters, and with squid, and it has never worked for me as the strong taste of the chorizo overwhelmed the taste of the seafood in every case; I could not taste the seafood at all.
It's great report meatnveg!
If you don't mind me asking - around how much did it come to per person?
A group of us are thinking of heading there this week. I know the food'll be great, that's no concern, but being students (and all that entails), well, certain financial considerations are sadly necessary.
I went alone sadly. I too am a student and finding fellow foodies is hard where I go to uni.
My solo bill came to $70. Thats a lot I know, But I ordered:
- 11 pintxos (incl. the special of the day)
- 1 glass of wine
I had originally planned to go to APDC and had eaten next to nothing all day so I was starving.
If you are interested in knowing what a more average bill may be, watch for an update on this post...I am going to Pintxo again tonight for my last meal before heading home.
hope that helps.
P.S. for frugal choices I found a chinese bbq pork joint today (8/lb) that and a bag of shredded cabbage from IGA would be perfection on a good day.
So sorry no one responded to this. The regulars here have been a bit quiet, lately. Thanks for the report. I must admit I have nothing to add, though. Pintxo is, in my opinion, one the best places in town as far good food and QPR are concerned. It's also a board favourite that has been covered quite a bit.
Please don't let the dead air keep you from writing further reports. The more people contribute, the more useful this board becomes.