The drive had been rough with missed exits, sour stomachs and a shrill catfight between dueling GPS units. But if heaven were the Basque countryside, then the grills at Etxebarri would be its gates.
Victor Arguinzóniz makes Bobby Flay look like a dancing monkey. Take that chipotle off your head, dancing monkey!
Everything on Etxebarri's menu has had contact with the grill or its smoke. This is not affected behavior or some trendy schtick. This is what he does, the way he cooks and how he lives.
We each ordered the tasting menu and also threw in a few supplements. Cuz dat's how we roll.
Shaken and stirred (but undeterred), we started with the cream of bean.
|Smoked goat's butter|
In true Pan-Mammalian fashion, Nick once captured Minnie's heart over a smelly anchovy pizza.
As you may have noticed by now, anchovies have been a recurrent theme on this trip. That's because they're our favorite vegetable.
It has been impossible to resist ordering them everywhere so far and Etxebarri had three incarnations of anchovy on the menu, so of course we had them all.
|Smoked buffalo mozzarella|
|Oyster with smoked seafoam and seaweed|
Unreal. The gambas live in such deep water that their brains implode into a dreamy, salty sauce when they are brought up to the surface. The heads were just incredible. We ate the shells, too.
|Txakoli, then rosé|
|Peas and cockle|
|Smoked egg yolk with local mushrooms|
|Fresh anchovies, grilled|
|Mastodonic hunk of Galician beef + salads|
|Smoked milk ice cream|
Don't be fooled by your memories of how ice cream should taste. The bite on this spoon could possibly have been the richest, gamiest flavor ever encountered in dairy. I loved it but could only manage about four bites before aesthetic arrest set it. Minnie kept saying it was not to her liking but still somehow managed to put away the same amount. This course, we felt, was the death blow.
|Wood-fire flambéed lemon biscuit with vanilla ice cream|
|Coffee and cakelets|
Actually, it was breathtaking.