Etxebarri: Basque “kaiseki” with a touch of smoke

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My next stop in the Basque country was Asador Etxebarri , the ultimate grill in Axpe valley not far from Bilbao. Victor Arguinzoniz is a legend among the globe trotting foodies and is known for his obsession with wood- fired grilling. Everything at this restaurant with pictoresque surroundings is grilled or at least smoked over the grill, that had been constructed by Arguinzoniz himself. Tasting menu,created from the freshest and the most seasonal ingredients, is the only option here. The whole experience and the emphasis on seasonality reminded me of Japanese kaiseki, which is all about creating the maximum impact while keeping things simple (as opposite to simplistic). Some dishes were more striking than others, but those who hit the spot, were really worth the 1.5 hours drive from San Sebastian and the trip by plane too . To mention a few, plump and sweet prawns from Palamos with a hint of smoke and Galician beef chuleta. That beef chop made me reconsider my beef preferences for life.

Asador Etxebarri: PlazaSan Juán, 1, 48291 Apatamonasterio, Biscay;tel. +34946 58 30 42

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Chorizo sandwich
Chorizo sandwich
Fresh buffalo cheese, honey and hazelnuts
Fresh buffalo cheese, honey and hazelnuts
Cracker
Cracker
Salted anchovy with toasted bread
Salted anchovy with toasted bread
Oyster from Arcachon and spinach
Oyster from Arcachon and spinach
Palamos prawns
Palamos prawns
Baby squid, caramelized onion and its ink
Baby squid, caramelized onion and its ink
Scrambled eggs ( yolk) and St George mushrooms
Scrambled eggs ( yolk) and St George mushrooms
Green ("teardrop") peas
Green (“teardrop”) peas
Comber and green pepper
Comber and green pepper
Anchovies and roquette
Anchovies and roquette
Galician beef chop
Galician beef chop
Reduced mik ice cream with betroot juice
Reduced mik ice cream with betroot juice
Flan of cheese
Flan of cheese
 Victor Arguinzoniz and his team at the kitchen
Victor Arguinzoniz and his team at the kitchen
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