The Chelsea restaurant offers New Yorkers a change of pace from “traditional” Spanish tapas as it specializes in Basque cuisine. Txikito (cheek-ee-toe) takes its name from the Euskera (language Basque region) word for “little”, and offers just that with its abundant menu of small plates. They also carry an extensive list of Txakoli, a Spanish wine grown in the Basque region. The co-owners of the establishment are chefs Alex Raij and her husband Eder Montero (a native of Bilbao in the Basque region), chefs who have extensive resumes in the New York culinary scene. The couple also own the Chelsea restaurant El Quinto Pino, and La Vara located in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn, with all three of their establishments specializing in a different aspect of Spanish cuisine. Located in Chelsea, Txikito is just a few blocks away from El Quinto Pino and adds to Chelsea’s list of foreign restaurants adhering to their unique ingredients while tailoring their menu to suit the palette of the mostly non-Spaniards who live here. With Txikito opening in 2008, the couple hoped to bring the unique Basque cuisine to a New York tapas market missing a Basque staple. To follow up on their success gained through Txikito, the couple have released a cook book entitled “The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes From the Kitchen of Txikito”.
Dinner options here range from $5-20, so ordering enough to fill you up may run on the moderately expensive side. Nevertheless, Txikito’s extensive menu allows customers a myriad of tastes that the chefs hope to evoke an authentic sensation of Basque cuisine. Txikito notes that Basque cuisine is a food where “ingredients like beans and peppers hold the same value as aged farmhouse cheeses, pristine seafood, and unique breeds of lamb and cattle.” Popular options here include the Txiki Txanpi (a miniature Porcini mushroom grilled cheese sandwich) and the Cordero (roasted lamb leg).