Sunday, September 27, 2009

Txori Bar

Txori Bar

2207 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121-2016
(206) 204-9771

We had the amazing fortune to sit at a table next to the folks that make Txori possible! Pictured above: the general manager (cool do and glasses), the pastry chef (looking sassy and awestruck), the office manager (sassy pink skirt) and the chef (hat peeking out) - and that's me in the back, all fuzzy.  It wasn't a full-on "sassy."  We only sampled some dessert from their table (ironically enough these Txori insiders were eating an elaborate smorgasbord of cupcakes from the Yellow Leaf Cupcake Company, located around the corner. This group was apparently tired of their own insanely amazing desserts). Throughout the evening, however, this friendly group also offered us fabulous menu suggestions, and they tolerated all of my incessent questions and musings with humor and patience... (e.g. "what do you like on the menu? ...what's that?...look at this!...etc.).

Here's the view towards the front door from our table:

My dining companion was only seven years old. Although this is a rather sophisticated and elegant Basque inspired tapas joint, we both enjoyed it. Fun finger food. Excellent service. Pleasant atmosphere.

We started out with drinks.  She ordered sprite on the rocks and I ordered a campari and soda.
We sandwiched ourselves between two other tables, so that I could ogle their food and ask opinions of our aforementioned neighbors. They raved about the stuffed squid in its ink on fried bread (calamares en su tinta ), so I ordered it. I am also partial to cured anchovies, so I ordered that too.
Below is the squid:


                                The anchovies:                                                                                                                 

 As you can see, the format is somewhat like sushi. Something on top of a bite and a half sized piece of bread. This makes eating bites off of other people's plates difficult.

The middle aged couple at the table to the other side of us were eating a plate of mushrooms, a plate of meatballs, and then later the braised oxtail tartlet. The tartlet looked like scrumptious morsels of meat wrapped in filo dough. Flaky and buttery.  However, this couple was not as approachable as the Txori all-star insider table. When I asked how the mushrooms and meatballs were, hoping that maybe I could move in for a taste, the gentleman turned to me and explained that the mushrooms were "amazing and mind-blowing" and that I "had to order them."

Well, this is the point at which I would normally say "can I have a bite?"  However, with him I hesitated, because, as much as I like getting to know people, socializing and sharing food, I also don't want to ruffle feathers or butt in when I'm not wanted. Sometimes you just know, and anyway, I was already getting the death stare from the gentleman's female companion. She was nice enough, but wouldn't talk. So....I backed off and ate my squid in its ink, which was exquisite, warm, tender, and fresh:

I also ordered those meatballs that Kent, the fabulous waiter, suggested I order for my little companion who he thought would love them. Made of veal and pork, these meatballs were incredible. Swimming in just enough beautiful rich sauce, I could have eaten about 20 of these things.She loved them too.

Kent was pretty fab all around. I ambled up to the bar to watch the chefs, look at the case (set up much like a sushi bar) and ask questions.  I spotted a small green stuffed thing which looked unusual, so I asked the busy chef what it was. He shot me an annoyed look and told me it was a "date". Well, I know enough to know a date when I see one, so I turned to Kent, who clarified that it was in fact NOT a date. The kitchen staff were messing with me, and in true-to-form kitchen staff tradition, behaved like gnarly smart asses.  Kent kindly answered questions, explained specials, and somehow by the time I got back to my table I had ordered a savory cone of cream and anchovies, supposedly a classic Basque snack. Not sure how I feel about this one. Sounded interesting in theory. Was very pretty when they arrived at the table, but harder to eat.

Kent also managed to add more St. Germain (elderflower blossom liqueur) to my cocktail when I told him I could only taste the cava rosada, a sparkling Spanish wine but mostly the orange soda. As pretty as this drink was, the taste was rather bland and heavy on the orange, even with the extra splash of St. Germain. Not as heavenly as described by here by Cornichon. Note the bottle of still water behind my drink (no throat numbing ice...hip hip hooray!).

 But...our server's most wonderful contribution to my experience that night was his dessert recommendation: olive oil cake. I must have cringed, because he offered to pay for it if I didn't like it. How do you pass up an offer like that? I was sure I would hate it, because I'm not often impressed with dessert to begin with, and olive oil in a sweet cake sounded too strong. I ordered the chocolate mousse as a back up. You can see the mousse on the left (much better, by the way, than Cafe Press chocolate mousse) and the olive oil cake nestled against a  dollop of crème fraîche on the right. This olive oil cake was a moist, rich, not too sweet, wine-soaked, masterpiece.

 Thinking myself lucky to have the pastry chef right next to me, I asked her how in the world she made it...."lots of wine and lots of sugar..."  The next day I tried to make one and I used lots of wine and lots of sugar, but mine tasted nutty and yeasty and border-line yucky. If you go to Txori for nothing else, go for a coffee and olive oil cake. You will not be disappointed.  Peace out.

Txori Bar on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Ian said...

Leah was one of the first chefs at Txori when they opened, and still subs in for a shift now and then. She got hate mail from PETA types after a photo ran in the Times of her holding a whole cooked octopus. (Nothing like hate mail to gain cred in a kitchen.) I've had some great meals there, but really love the Gilda - an anchovy, a pickled pepper and an olive on a skewer - as a bite by itself or as garnish for a martini. The thing I was scared to try but finally did was the mix of red wine and coke. Not bad, really. Sangria-ish, and I can see how it would totally work on a hot day by the Atlantic.