Last Friday I was fortunate enough to try out some STELLAR tapas with a friend at a place called Bar Basque located on 6th Ave. btw. 29th and 30th Sts. We also got to check out some wine; one of which was the sweetest I’ve ever had. If you don’t know what tapas are they’re variety of appetizers/snacks taken from Spanish cuisine. Think portions fit on small plates and you’re set. This was my first time at an upscale tapas place so I was excited! In fact, this might’ve been my first time eating tapas, period. In either case I was delighted by the end of the dining experience.
We walked in and up the stairs into the nice and swanky interior of the bar and lounge. We seated ourselves in a very impressive seating area with an outside view. Our server, a very friendly and courteous guy named Jarvis, assisted us with our orders and even showed us the impressive wine dispensing machine. We were given a card that we’d slide into the machine and depending on how big a pour, the machine would credit the card and the amount would be tallied along with the check at the end of the meal. The machine dispensed wines of the red and white variety from many regions. Needless to say, and thanks to my friend’s expertise, we indulged ourselves on several of the reds and whites ;-) .
After filling ourselves with wine our food began arriving. The cod and Iberian ham croquettes came first and these were goood. The octopus came next and while I’m not a fan of eating tentacled sea creatures, I have to say this may have changed my mind for good. My partner in crime commented that she thought the octopus was more chewy than she expected but it was still appealing to her palate. This was presented to us in a oval tin can and small bamboo sticks which added a bit of charm to the dish. It also made picking at the octopus easier. Gotta love convenience! After that came crispy egg with serrano: creamy in the inside with a bit of spice to the flavor, which I liked. Next came the Spanish style pizza with wild mushrooms and queso fresco. And truth be told, this might’ve been the best pizza I’ve had in recent memory. It was crispy, topped with tasty mushrooms, white cheese, nuts, and greens. My friend recommended I eat this latter on its own, let the taste settle in my mouth, and then take a bite of the pizza: I did, and the two complimented each other very well.
Next came dessert and the now infamous sherry – to me, at least – Pedro Ximenez. Dessert was fried ice cream with both peach and chocolate sauce with which to dip. The peach was all right but the chocolate was thick and rich. Then came the Pedro Ximenez. Dear God. I took a whiff and immediately coughed at the potency of the smell or “nose” in wine parlance. I recovered, readied myself, took a sip, and the moment it touched my lips my taste buds went haywire on me. To describe it as “sweet” is making light of the sherry. Using my friend’s words: “It’s an experience.” And dear life was it ever. It honestly felt like my mouth was going through the actual process of fermenting white grapes into wine. Was it a good experience? Sure. But wow, I don’t think I’ll be trying that again anytime soon.