Euz-what-di? Euzkadi! It's a small Spanish/Basque tapas restaurant in the East Village and we had a Groupon coupon for it. $25 for $50 worth of food = score!
It turns out that the $50 cushion was necessary, though. The dishes here are fairly expensive, and the portions sounded (and turned out to be) very small. Each dish was, on average, $10, and the waiter recommended that for two people, four to six dishes would suffice. Funny how for "Asian tapas" (dim sum), you can probably feed like 10 people with $50.
The restaurant was darkly lit and decorated really strangely, with cave drawings all over the ceiling and walls. Otherwise, I wouldn't have found the ambiance very pleasant, but for some reason, it matched the style of Spanish tapas.
The bread bowl that was served was accompanied by an olive tapanade, which was surprisingly delicious. The bread was nice and chewy, and the tapanade - though very salty - was legitimately olive-tasting and really good if spread thinly on the bread.
Al primer: goat cheese and honey croquettes. I had my doubts, but these were actually the highlight of the meal. These munchkin-sized fried balls were golden yellow and crispy. The inside of the croquette was fluffy and white...goat cheese! It tasted like a thicker, whipped, plain Greek yogurt: tangy and sour. The real unique part was that these croquettes were sitting in a pool of honey that we also drizzled on our croquette bites. The combination was insanely good, a little bit of sweet to balance the goat cheese. Whoever invented this dish or brought it to Euzkadi: I love you.
Entonces, we had jamon croquettes. These croquettes were oval and the same golden yellow color as the goat cheese ones. The inside contained a mixture of chopped ham, some cheese, and probably a mashed potato filler. I first had jamon croquettes in Madrid and they were...cold in the middle and greasy throughout. So, today's was a big improvement! The croquettes weren't very consistent, though: one had a very potato-y filler and another was really gooey with cheese. Eh, it was sort of like a good comfort food thing: deep fried, potatos, ham, cheese. Mmm.
|Holy Mole Quail|
For the most dramatic dish.... Quail. In. Chocolate. Sauce. The dish was eyepoppingly plated: one itty bitty quail splayed on top of a pool of thick dark chocolate, presumably with some chile in it to make it a mole sauce. There was very little meat on this little thing, but the meat that was there was really interesting and actually tasty. It had a dominant liver flavor, but somehow the chocolate wasn't too cloyingly sweet and complimented the quail well. It was really difficult to eat, but given a big fat quail on steroids, I would enjoy eating it. The combination, probably reminiscent of chicken mole, was really bold but paid off.
One of the less-good dishes was the...for lack of a better name...dates stuffed with almonds and bleu cheese and wrapped with Serrano ham. First of all, they looked pretty unappetizing. Like little cockroaches. Dead and lined up on a plate. At first whiff, I already smelled a load of bleu cheese. And obviously I tasted a lot of it. The bleu cheese was incredibly overpowering. I'm going to bet people have a love-hate relationship with bleu cheese. Somehow, even such a tiny serving of it bleu...sorry, blew me away, and not in a good way. The whole little bite was extremely salty. I couldn't taste the jamon at all. And I was left with the taste of bleu cheese in my throat.
Al final, we had chorizo and onion in port wine. Two days in a row of sausages?! This dish was a good way to end the meal, and was a good way to erase the memory of the little ham-wrapped cockroaches. The chorizo was nicely flavored by the onions and wine. Interestingly, the wine wasn't as bitter as I've had it before in chorizo-red-wine dishes; maybe the onion had some part in making it sweeter. It was in a nice little dish with loads of the port wine sauce, for which I wished we had some more bread to dip in it.
108 East 4th Street, #A