Monday, December 12, 2011

Melancholia at Bar Pintxo

Both of us wanted us to try Bar Pintxo because we already love Joseph Miller's real restaurant Joe's in Venice Beach and his step-son Spanish Tapas bar in Santa Monica had to be just as good. Maybe it was because we went there on a gloomy Sunday afternoon after seeing the Lars Von Trier's suicide-inspiration flick Melancholia that made the food not quite live up to our expectations. Maybe it was because my date had just eaten at Patina the night before and had an overloaded with pleasure palate that would leave anything else in the next 24 hours in the dust or the fact that I had visited my favorite bistro in the desert for a surprise chicken liver and apple mousse the night before because the food was strangely bred on plates where a great potential piece of fare was served with something less spectacular. We totally forgave our obviously new waiter for coming over every five minutes to see if we wanted something next when we really just wanted to be left alone to talk and sip our wine and savor our bites, and I actually did enjoy the small dining room getting more crowded as the hours drew on with chefs bustling about and a seeming sense of passion about the place. And the company was great so it was hard to hate the food, although it isn't somewhere I will be rushing back to in the future unless I want to just drink wine and enjoy the good happy hour prices.

Three menus made choices a little overwhelming; a regular one, a special happy hour one and then later on into the afternoon, the nightly specials one. We did eat something from each though which proves we are adventurous foodies hoping for that cream at the top. 

First off, we chose a cheese plate to savor with our Avinyo non-vintage Brut Cava sparkly. It came with thinly sliced Manchego, Valdeon blue and Capri Chevre al Pimienton. It's hard to muck up a blue and the apricot paste was good but the goat and manchego were mildly disappointing. The goat tasted more like cream cheese and the pimento rind wasn't that flavorful. Felt a little cheated.

Piquillo stuffed crab was next. This looked and tasted more like a tomato stuffed with watery crab salad. The green sauce was good but the same mouth texture and temperature of the other stuff so that it just melded into a tasteless wash on the tongue. Unfortunately, it had the same affect on the accompanying Luberri Tempranillo glass of red.

This dish was truly the saving grace of the evening for me, if I were to go digging for one, which the man across the table tells me he's noticed I am prone to do.  Pumpkin pate with pickled cauliflower and carrots. More French then Spanish according to my mate so maybe the geography jump had something to do with the better taste. The small pot of bright orange pate covered with a balsamic gel, which was hand mashed and not consistently textured (to our liking) was novel and interesting, especially when spread on the nicely charred bread for a little burnt mixed with sweet taste. And our option of Joan Garnatxa to drink with it was great.

 This was weird and I was sad about that because I love lamb. But the meatballs tasted more like beef and there were boiled grapes in the middle with no taste, just making it a strange surprise to find in the middle of lamb that sucked the meat's life away into a hard little globe of nothingness. The fried kale was good but again, took the life out of the poor lamb. Mencos Roja wine saved the tongue a bit. Wash down and to the next.

Further disappointment was in the "special" of the evening, a rolled turkey disk with truffles and brussel sprouts. Truffles and brussel sprouts being the reason our ears perked up over the dish but you could not taste the truffle at all so you were really eating a slab of hard turkey bologna, bland as something you would buy for a cocktail party buffet at Costco. Clamoring for the brussel sprouts ended this meal.


No comments:

Post a Comment