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PINXTO Question...

I'm taking my girlfriend for dinner this week who has a longing love affair with all things Spain and the basque country after several trips abroad. I promised her a meal at Pintxo and it's surprisingly my first-time as well as hers (she's from out of town) and I was just wondering how feasible it would be to share dishes, or whether the pintxos are really too small for that?

I'm also looking for suggestions and feedback based on my selections below. From what I've read in reviews, I think we'll probably end up skipping the entrees and just order about 15 or so pintxos from the a la carte menu with a good cheap Spanish wine.

Here's what I've taken note of...

- octopus carpaccio with cava vinegar

- dual of fresh marinated crab and shrimp with pepper

- duo of scallops on black olive tapenade

- seared calamari with onion confit

- garlic shrimp on roasted pepper

- quintet of grilled vegetables

- stuffed figue with serrano ham and mahon cheese

- half quail on a bed of pasta with smoked ham and pine nuts

- goat cheese ravioli with duck stew

- mushrooms stuffed with duck confit

- sauteed wild mushrooms and snails with persley oil

- plate of carried of spanish cheeses (main)

I've seen a flickr set with photos of the rare sliced duck on risotto and it looked amazing but all the reviews I've read seem to hint at avoiding the main courses. I think we should do alright with the above choices... I'm just curious how filling this would be for two people and whether it would realistically be possible to share such small portions? To me, that's the whole appeal of a tapas place is that you can order so many small dishes to sample.

Also someone recently posted a review in which they mentioned the prices were inflated about 50% over what's currently listed on the website's menu, which avergaes about $6 per pintxo. Can anyone confirm? The difference between spending $100 and $200 on dinner for two is quite significant... Thanks!

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  1. I think ordering about 15 tapas and sharing would be great and more than enough food for two people with reasonable appetites. It is very possible to split the pixtos. A few of them are indeed small but none that i saw or tried were too small to split in two. They are smaller than normal appetizers but frankly, I usually find normal appetizers to be way too big.

    As for mains let me be clear: they are extreemly good. However, why would you want to get a main when you can get 3-4 small pinxtos instead?

    One thing on their menu that is not on your list is the cod in scrambled eggs. It sounds simple and uninteresting, but i love the taste.

    If you are worried about the prices, why don't you call them and ask if the website prices are up to date? Also, one way to keep the bill down is to take the special (4 pinxtos +1 main) , add as many more pinxtos as you want and split everything.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hala

      Thanks so much, sounds great and just what I wanted to know!!

      I passed on the cod because I'm not crazy about cod frankly (nor scrambled eggs), but I wouldn't be opposed to giving it a shot... just didn't seem all that appealing to me.

      And I'll indeed call ahead to inquire about the prices on their menu. One of the inviting things about this place is how surprisingly and reasonably priced everything seemed from their website!

    2. About the prices, one thing nice about "tapas" is that you can order more or less depending on both the prices and the quantity.

      Just start by ordering a few of them and then decide if you want more ... no biggie.

      Max.

      1. I went twice with my brother who can eat the best of them and we ordered 12 tapas for the two us, we were stuffed. My favorites were the stuffed figue, black cod (very substantial piece of fish), octupus carpaccio, seared calamari with onion confit, mushroom stuffed with duck confit, and they had a special lobster tapas ( we didn't have any that we didn't like). I really enjoyed trying the different tapas, they all combined interesting tastes. Both times the staff recommended a reasonably priced spanish wine that was very good, we polished off two bottles both times (oh my little brother can drink with the best of 'em, too). The servers were also very good and helpful.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MTLNY

          I have to agree with MTLNY. I'm a big eater and for me ordering more than 6 pintxos per person would be gluttony.

          1. re: MTLNY

            Thanks so much!

            Did you go with any entrees?

            Approx. how much did your total come to with the 12 pitxos and wine?

            I hope the lobster tapas available this week!!

            1. re: OliverB

              No entrees for us wanted to try too many pintxos, but we saw some of the entrees which looked very good.

              I think it was around $150 for the twelve pinxtos and one bottle wine (each bottle was around $40, we had two). The meal was worth every penny, one of the more satisfying and enjoyable meals I have had in Montreal.

          2. I dont find them so shareable. They are very small , and if you share your kind of left wanting more. I had 6 when I went and I could of easily eaten a few more. Also just so you know the menu on their website is slightly decieving because the prices they list are less than they actually are. Two people your looking around 120$ tax and tip including desert.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jay_81k

              Thanks... $120 is not so bad w/ tax and tip at all.

              How much less would you say the prices on their website are than the actual prices if they aren't reflective? The average cost of pintxos ont heir site is approx. $5-6... I love that they're all under $8 or so because you could sample a lot more of the menu.

              Also, when you say that you didn't find the plates shareable is that in the sense that they are physically too small (ie how can I even cut this in half) or you're just left with a few bites and don't really get to properly enjoy and experience the dishes? Are they like toothpick hors d'oevres small??

              1. re: OliverB

                Id say they are all atleast 1$ more than it says on the site. Its not that portions are physically too small to share, its that its such a small amount of food that if you share you just get a taste of what youre having and youre really left wanting more. Theyre not toothpick sized at all though, so if youre not a pig like i am they may be shareable

            2. I know that you can still have a really good table d hote lunch for 18 dollars or dinner for 30 dollars and the details regarding those specials on the website were accurate last month when I last went.

              1. In my experience, and the most recently I visited was last month, the prices are only deceiving in how quickly a bunch of $4-5 dishes can multiply, not in their inconsistency with the website. The duo of scallops dish you mentioned is actually a single scallop with tapanade (a "duo") and I found some of their portions actually smaller than previous visits, so I guess that sort of falls into the same category.

                Anyways... Pintxo is a nice restaurant, but it's not really traditional tapas. They also have a fantastic Spanish wine list, though I'm not sure how much a cheap wine is going to cost you. Despite having several courses, the meal can actually go by quite quickly, and their desserts are somewhat lacking IMO, so you might want to do a split-location date and have dessert somewhere nearby on St. Denis or St. Laurent.

                You're definitely missing my favorite of the bunch, which is the braised beef cheek. They have a few items not listed on the website as well. If you are going to order a main, your best bet will always be the fish.

                I'm also in the "too small to share" camp, unless you think a single shrimp or fig are sharable portions.

                2 Replies
                1. re: afoodyear

                  What is considered a bite and how much we eat varies from person to person. Each of us can only tell OliverB whether we think portions are sharable or not but in the end it depends on what kind of eater he and his gf are. Personally, even if i wanted to, I couldn't fit a whole stuffed fig in my mouth. I would need to cut it at least in two. I also cut my shrimp and scallops unless they are tiny.

                  Look around, see how big portions are at neighbouring tables and if you think you will need more food, the special (4+main) is a good deal. It comes out to the main costing about 10 dollars, not bad at all.

                  If both you and gf are aware of your buget and you don't order everything in sight, this is very doable. But if you are tempted to order 10-15 pinxtos + wine (quite reasonably priced) + dessert + coffees then the bill will go up quickly.

                  1. re: hala

                    Thanks!

                    Well I should say that we're both fairly big eaters, but I can happily restrain myself if need be as there will be lots of wine tomorrow night both during and post dinner, and we'll likely head elsewhere for dessert.

                    The plan is indeed to order about 15 pintxos to share, and I guess as long as all the plates can be easily divided (I assume the scallop for instance is a large portion) than I guess we can make do. While it's not normally how most of us are used to eating, I personally enjoy the idea of sampling and sharing many more "smaller" tapas, so hopefully it will be filling enough by the end of the meal.

                    Taking this in a new direction now, but any suggestions for after-dinner dessert spots in the area? Was thinking J&C possibly, but wonder if there's anything better not too far out of the way...

                2. You can read my review here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6879...

                  But in a nutshell, yes 12 pintxos are sufficient, albeit they are small. Also, do not expect Spanish tapas / Basque pintxos. Yes, there are some Iberian flavours, but I would not call this typical Basque food.

                  Count on spending between $100 and $200 (we had 2 glasses of cava, a bottle of red and a brandy + coffees and a shared dessert and 12 pintxos for $185). But if you go easy on the alcohol, you could stay under $150.

                  1. My last visit was two years ago, so I can't comment on the prices, but if the portions have stayed the same, you probably will have enough with 12 pinxtos, especially if heading elsewhere for dessert. If needed, you can always add some more during the meal if you're still hungry or have particularly enjoyed one of the pinxto, so its probably best to underorder than to overorder

                    I always share with my GF, so we can taste twice as much items. Worst that can happen is you end up with 3 snails and your partner with 2, or you have to split a big scallop in two.