Txoko

From the owners of Naked Lunch comes a new nighttime hangout, Txoko (pronounced cho-ko).  I went to their grand opening yesterday, May 31st, and I was really excited to try it out.  Throughout the day, all I could think about was dinner.  I was sick and sneezing all day, but I stuck it out so I could make it out to Txoko.  It is located on Broadway and Kearny, formerly Enrico’s.  Ryan and Ian struck a deal to take this place over and did some nice renovations to it.  The bar area feels like a saloon while the rest of the decor was modern, yet earthy.  The long leather couch was very comfortable and casual.  They have a communal table which is great for meeting people and the outside (heated) patio is a great place to see and be seen.

The menu at Txoko is Basque inspired and they specialize in small plates (think tapas).  Most of the dishes are individually portioned, but they do offer two “Big Plates” for dinner which is definitely meant to be eaten by several people.

The first small plate I had was the wild mushroom empanadas.

Now that I think of it, I really wish I cut it in half before eating it so I could take a picture of what is inside.  I guess I was too excited and just could not wait to dig in.  The outside was perfectly golden-brown and the puff pastry was buttery, crispy, light, and flaky while the mushroom filling was woodsy, yet not overpowering.

This was the lamb loin with carrots, peas, and potatoes au gratin.  I have to say, that was the best potatoes au gratin I’ve ever had.  It was really crispy on the outside and the cheese on top was to die for.  I love the textures of the crunchiness from the top of the potatoes and the silkiness and creamieness from the cheese.  Pure heaven.  The lamb was fantastic too.  It was tender and juicy.  It wasn’t overly seasoned wich is great because you can really taste the flavor of the lamb.

If you recall from a really old post, the best risotto I’ve ever had was in London, at a restaurant called Bank.  Ever since, I’ve been looking for a risotto similar to the one in London and I think I have found it here.  Surprisingly, I didn’t find it in Italy.  It was close to North Beach which, I guess, is Italian enough.  It was loaded with chantrelles and oyster mushrooms.  The vegetable you see in the picture are ferns that curled up when cooked.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Because my mom and I wanted to try everything, we decided to order the rib eye to share because it was portioned for two.  I had no idea it was going to be brought out on one big plate.  It was a la carte style and each of us were also given another plate of mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes au gratin.  The rib eye came bone in and weighed a whopping three pounds.  I was literally LOLing while the waiters were putting it on the table.  I could not stop laughing because I thought the entire thing was a joke.  It was served medium-rare, which is how I like it.  All of a sudden I felt like I was Adam Richman from Travel Channel’s Man Vs. Food.  It was tender but very meaty.  There was no way the two of us could get all of that down without slipping into a coma.  I managed to eat only three pieces before waving my white flag.

Of course I didn’t totally surrender.  I still had room for dessert.  I went with the chocolate torte with cherry jam and cherry sorbet.

But alas, all good things must come to an end.  Since it was their very first day of opperation, things took a while to get to the table.  They still need some time to work out the kinks in the kitchen.  What I liked was that our waitress was open to our questions and always went to ask the kitchen if she didn’t know the answer.  The staff is very friendly and attentive, making sure everything tastes great and that everything from utensils to water is always present on the table.

Opening night was not as busy as I had expected it to be.  Then again, it was a Tuesday and the weather was a little gloomy.  Hopefully, I will come back in a few weeks to see if their system smoothes out and if they change some things on the menu.  I hear it is going to rotate like they do for lunch, but I hope their risotto dish is there permanently.  To Ryan and Executive Chef, Ian Begg, my hat goes off to you (if I wore a hat).  I can’t wait for my next meal here.  Who shall I take?

My ratings:

Food: 4.897 / 5

Service: 4.6 / 5

Atmosphere: 4.7 / 5

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About ajsrichantra

Simple things make me happy.
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