My wife and I went to Bistro Basque (http://www.bistrobasqueusa.com/) for dinner last night and had a fantastic experience. We took advantage of the nice weather and dined outdoors on their back patio area, which was very nice, albeit a bit cramped. Which would probably be my only complaint on the evening as a whole, as I was bumped/brushed several times by servers walking past. Not so much that it annoyed me at all, but figured I’d share that feedback. It’s a very pleasant area to dine, but definitely tight quarters. On to the food.
We are both fans of sharing multiple small plates, so tapas were the way to go. We started with one of the night’s specials, White Asparagus Gratin with manchego, Serrano ham and a piquillo pepper sauce. This was my wife’s favorite dish of the evening and was very good. Five tender, perfectly prepared asparagus spears with just the right amount (not too much) of cheesy and salty pork product accompaniment. Next we had White Beans and Manila Clams in a white wine and garlic sauce. This was good, but not perfect. I had three clams that were gritty (hard to control that unfortunately) and the sauce was a bit over-salted. Neither problem ruined the dish, but kept it from being one of our favorites.
Following that, we moved on to the Lomo – soft white toast points topped with marinated pork tenderloin, tetilla cheese, piquillo pepper and black olives. I thought this was superb. The pork was extremely tender and full of flavor from the spice rub marinade. The whole thing was highlighted by a vibrant piquillo pepper sauce that I loved. Next was the Tapas Cazera – a napoleon of shiitake mushroom atop red cabbage, spinach and duck confit. I could have eaten this whole dish myself. Easily my favorite, this dish had a great balance of flavors, with the sauce (I neglected to ask exactly what it was) offering a wonderful acid counter-note (via some balsamic perhaps?).
We finished up with another special – Lobster “Risotto” with calamari, scallops and clams. This was interesting in that the seafood elements weren’t incorporated into the risotto rice. The rice was presented as a circle mold in the middle of the dish. It was then surrounded by a deep, rich lobster stock, lobster meat and the rest of the seafood. The stock was fantastic and the various meats perfectly tender. Somehow we still had room for dessert. For my wife, the Rice Pudding with raspberry coulis. It was good, but far overshadowed by my choice – a special of Bread Pudding served with a strawberry-balsamic glace and topped with a goat cheese “foam”. Spectacular! The goat cheese worked perfectly with the tangy sweetness of the strawberry-balsamic sauce to elevate the dense richness of the bread pudding.
Service was excellent (with the previously noted exception of the occasional “bump”) and very friendly. Our total bill for the evening (including two glasses of wine and a cappuccino) came to just over $100. We will definitely be returning again in the near future, so I would not hesitate to recommend it to others as well.