I have fond childhood memories of vacationing with my folks and patiently sitting in the backseat of the families Oldsmobile station wagon as they searched out new restaurants in what I remember as obscure locales. “If it’s good, people will search it out” they would remind me. Fast forward 35 years, and I find myself and my travel companions zipping down country roads somewhere in the Basque Country of Spain, restaurant searching for what we know to be not just good, but amazing. “Are we sure this is the right way”? “Who knows, the GPS is fuzzy”!
Alas, a grouping of restored farmhouses appear in the distance set against the oh so green Cantabrian mountains. We have arrived to the village of Axpe, but in moments will be transported far away, where live fires burn and luscious flavors flow……This is Asador Etxebarri!
Asado (Spanish: [aˈsaðo], Brazilian Portuguese: [assado]) is a term used both for a range of barbecue techniques and the social event of having or attending a barbecue.
The exact definition of what you will experience coming out of the kitchen of Victor Arguinzoniz. Ranked one of the worlds 50 best restaurants and Michelin starred, the Chef considers this style of cooking “a subtle approach to grilling”. He grew up in this village where no one had electricity or gas, So one can only assume that he has been honing his grilling techniques since he was a very young man.
Upon being sat our group quickly decided that we would all indulge in the 12 course tasting menu. Moments later the Chef’s famous smoked goats milk butter appeared along with platters of salted anchovy’s, acorn fed pork chorizo, and crackers. We were not shy about digging in and as the Cava flowed we quickly realized that this was going to be a most memorable experience.
Goose Barnacles came next presented in a simple metal basket and perfectly prepared with flavors of smoke. None of us at the table had ever eaten barnacles, all of us cannot wait to indulge in them again!
A simplistic oyster presentation followed, barely warm and presented on the 1/2 shell, Im certain I have never tasted a more perfectly prepared oyster, simple and luscious.
Prawns, baby octopus, St George mushrooms, baby green peas in there own juice with a splash of sherry vinegar, Red Sea Bream, and the oh so luscious famous beef chop………it all kept coming, one amazing flavor after the next.
I had the pleasure of wine selection for our luncheon, all of which were quite memorable. We started off with bubbles, a Cava Rosae from Rimarts that had a very interesting smokey element to it, quite delicious with the barnacles.
Next we moved into a delightful Felton Road Riesling, 2012 followed by R. Barber Clos Mogador Nelin Priorat 2012, and then paired with our Beef Chop we enjoyed a classic 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape from Domaine De Marcoux.
Simply delicious desserts completed our 4.5 hour luncheon that seemed to fly by. In fact at its completion we all wanted it to begin again.
As I have mentioned in an earlier post, the Basque region of Spain opens it’s hearts and kitchen doors to visitors, Etxebarri reconfirmed this. As we departed the Chef graciously invited us into the tiny kitchen to meet the staff and observe first hand the cooking process. All I can say is “it’s all off the grill and amazing”!!
I hope you also get to experience Etxebarri. I would love to hear about ur experience!!!
Calle de San Juan, 1
24549 Vizcaya Spain
001 34 946 58 30 42