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Apr 20, 2014 06:48 PM

À la carte at Asador Etxebarri?

Anyone know if you can order à la carte here in place of the tasting menu?

My wife says I'm scheduling too many big meals in a row and she's probably right, so after reading Phil's comment along the lines of he was 'too full to walk to the car' after dining here I figured I might cancel this one since we have Azurmendi and Mugaritz the days before/after. Or perhaps see if we could just get a starter, maybe the red prawns and a hunk of meat instead of the entire tasting menu.

Anyone know? I think I read of someone doing this in some long lost thread but things change ...

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  1. Yes they do ALC - when we visited it seemed the tables were split 50/50 doing ALC or the set menu's. In hindsight the ALC maybe the best way to go as we got overwhelmed - maybe a case of "less is more".

    2 Replies
    1. re: PhilD

      Thanks! Guess we'll go there after all.

      1. re: willyum

        Enjoy - its very pretty up there - although you feel you are driving through an industrial estate to get there. But once out of that area the scenery opens up and you get into the mountains. Do ask to see the kitchen - its very interesting.

    2. Ala Carte is no problem…We actually preferred it over the tasting menu as we wanted to try some items not on the tasting menu.

      1. I emailed them in my halting Spanish and they replied with PDFs of the tasting and the ALC menus for April 19, which I'll add here in case anyone else wonders about this at a later date and finds this with a search.

        ALC menu:

        Chorizo home made 22 €

        Butter of goat 12 €
        Anchovies salt cured 24 €
        Terrine of goose liver 30 €

        Vegetables with salt cod 24 €
        Shrimps (kg.) 120€
        Goose barnacles (kg.) 200€
        Lobster (kg.) 72 €

        Local blue crab 24 €
        Oysters 27 €
        Clams 35 €
        Prawns of Palamos 33 €

        Sea cucumber 40 €
        Baby octopus 40 €
        Green beans 30 €

        Scrambled eggs of St. George’s mushrooms 28 €
        St. George’s mushrooms sautéed 28 €
        Throats of cod 27 €

        Salt cod loin 27 €
        Grouper 28 €
        Red sea bream (kg.) 65 €
        Beef chop (kg.) 65 €

        (Prices V.A.T. not included)

        Here's the tasting menu for April 19 (16 courses):


        Butter of goat’s milk with black salt
        Mozzarella of buffalo
        Salted anchovy with toasted bread

        Chorizo elaborated from acorn-fed pork
        Oyster with spinach

        Prawns from Palamos
        Baby octopus caramelized onion and its ink
        Scrambled eggs of St. George’s mushrooms

        St. George’s mushrooms with asparagus broth
        Green peas in their juice
        Baby eels

        Beef chop
        Reduced milk ice cream with red fruit infusion
        Soufflé of chocolate


        125’00 € (V.A.T. not included)

        Buen provecho!

        9 Replies
        1. re: willyum

          Have any of you tried percebes, what is called "Goose barnacles" for 200€/kg on the ALC menu?

          I've never had them (never seen them on a menu in the States) so I'm thinking this might be a chance to try a few ounces ... worth it?

          1. re: willyum

            I am afraid I have not. I think they are only found on the northern Spanish coast and it's a risky business getting down into the rocks to harvest them - hence the price....!

            1. re: PhilD

              L2O restaurant in Chicago offered them for a brief moment and after reading the chef's blog I wanted to try them, but when we've visited the restaurant they weren't available. I think I'll try a handful at Etxebarri if they're on the menu.

     ... I'm sure they won't peel them for me like Kirkley did :)

              1. re: willyum

                It's very easy to pop them out, you just make a small cut into the top of the "tube" under the part that looks like a dragon claw, give it a little twist and the edible meat pops right out. Watch here:

                Though I do recommend dissecting one completely, just to see all of the weird ferny inedible parts, too.

                1. re: butterfly

                  Thanks for the video, that looked really simple.

                  Matt probably felt he had to peel them to keep the unknowing from trying to eat the sheath, like those Americans who try to eat the corn husk on a tamale, which President Ford once did in Texas.

                2. re: willyum

                  First encountered them
                  in Lisbon. I think you must try them. They taste briny and have a texture similar to octopus. They might have them at Elkano as well.

              2. re: willyum

                I'm hoping someone will try the sea cucumber and report back… I see them all over Spanish beaches--from north to south. Very odd little animals.

                I've only had the typical marisquería preparation (a quick dip in boiling salted water with bay leaves), but percebes are delicious and fun to eat. The asador preparation could be interesting.

                1. re: willyum

                  I had them - second only to the 18 year-old aged steer. Also had a small taste at Akelare recently as part of a dish. Very flavorful.

                  But on their tasting menu they have elvers - I only had them once but still recall that dish. Sort of onion straws in texture but with a mild fishy/meaty flavour.
                  If only I'd known they were there on my recent trip - would probably have dropped Mugaritz to try those again.

                  1. re: willyum

                    Had them on the tasting menu in October. In my opinion, no, not remotely worth it. Interesting is how I would describe it. But we just pulled them apart simply.

                2. We made up our own tasting menu, ordering "1 for 2", one portion split between two people. We shared probably 10 courses in order to hit the highlights, were absolutely stuffed but delighted. Our tab was embarrassingly small considering the quantity and, certainly, quality. A meal of a lifetime with a view to match.

                  1. Have you taken your trip yet? We also scheduled the Mugaritz-Etxebarri-Azurmendi back-to-back-to-back (this is for June 10-12), so I'm curious to know how your experience was.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Honoredb

                      We are back but unfortunately we didn't get to Etxebarri because of transportation issues. We were trying to go there the day we transferred between Bilbao and SS and it just didn't work well with the bus or train schedules, and when we tried to switch days they were booked up.

                      So next time we'll make the trip to/from Bilbao, which seemed easy enough with a bus to Durango and a taxi to Axpe.

                      In SS we met up with Chowhound misochi at Ibai, who did go to Etxebarri, and she said it was one of the highlights of their trip, so we felt worse about missing out.

                      We did go to Mugaritz and Azurmendi, a few days apart, and had great meals at both places. I had been warned that I might not like Mugaritz but we really loved it.

                      Need to write something up but I'm busy studying my French for an upcoming trip to Provence ...

                      You have a great foodie trip planned with those three restaurants in a row :)

                      1. re: willyum

                        Thanks for the 411 (and for your info on my post about my upcoming trip with the Noma finale). Envious of your Provence trip. Last time we were there we had some fantastic one-star meals at the Relais Chateaux properties. We also ate well in St. Remy de Provence and in Arles. If you can swing it and can score a rezzy, you absolutely MUST take the haul of a drive to Bras. It's one of the great food experiences.