Feeling somewhat festive and somewhat chilled, my girlfriend and I dropped in on this new-ish Basque joint on east 4th (#108) last night and came away pleasantly surprised--certainly moreso than we have from any E. Village newcomer in quite a while.
Frankly, I have no idea if what we were served was "authentic" or not--I do have one friend who is of Basque heritage, but all he seems to eat is carry out Chinese--but it was all quite good. Appetizers are all complex and fancy-schmancy, main courses very straighforward, which is odd, but it works. We loved the eggplant beignet served with crab/fennel remoulade as an appetizer--although it seemed more New Orleans than anything--and my companion adored her roast cod with garlic mashed potatoes. My roast chicken with garlic confit (and black olive mashed) was also good (with the skin crispy and unhealthy just the way I like it).
Service, while well-meant, was harried. "Would it kill them to hire a busboy?" was Sue's exasperated comment, midmeal. The place also fits, almost cartoonishly, into the clichéd "tiny Manhattan restaurant" mold, cramming a third too many tiny tables into a space, then topping those tiny tables with plates so oversized you practically have to hold your glass in one hand for the entire meal. Definitely plan to return, maybe in an off hour, with less of a crowd in place...
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