Best Basque? (Nevada, Idaho or Oregon)
I dream of finding the best of the best Basque restaurant somewhere. Where the garlic is served by the pound. And dry red wine comes and comes as bottles empty. My favorite is the Winnemucca Hotel, obviously, in Winnemucca NV. I quite like the Star Hotel in Elko too. Definitely the best of the Elko crowd I think. The Winnemucca Hotel has more the atmosphere I am looking for though. And the genuine "eating in sittings" when the bell sounds is the real McCoy. Mike the bartender may also mix the most lethal Picon Punch (although, it did later lead me to have astonishly good luck at roulette---a $15 dollar straight bet on double zero romped home) in the region---not a light claim. I think also the immediate proximity to the bordello district lends a "je ne sais quoi" to the atmosphere. Not to mention the 200 year-old TV set and fixtures; including the walk-in safe behind the bar. Which lends a nice touch. Not for the faint of heart perhaps, but very friendly at the dining tables for the most part.
But I still have this feeling that somewhere out there there's still another notch better waiting to be discovered. More tripe on the menu. More salt on the lard-fried fries. More dishes where you wonder "what *is* this??" but devour them with relish anyway.
Incidentally, I did stay in the Hotel Diamond in SE Oregon, not far from Frenchglen, and at that time their lunch & dinner was almost Basque style except in name. And the food very good. And the setting sublime. Just far far from anywhere. Bird-watcher's paradise. I have cross posted this on the Southwest board.
Thanks for anyone who might weigh in on good Basque. I think by definition it has to be off the beaten track to be what I am looking for. There's something about a splendidly seasoned meal, redolent of garlic, red meat, with lots of wine & bread, in the wilderness. Kind of a "biblical" experience I think.
Thanks for any thoughts.