Yesterday I packed up my camera and headed to Belltown to join my friend who’d reserved us seats at the grand opening of a new tapas bar in Belltown. For me it’s a little bizarro to go to a tapas bar as though it’s an “event.” I lived in Spain and visited frequently for years (the ex-husband is a Spaniard), and my experience with tapas has been street bars that serve saucers filled with foods like dried fish, boiled potatoes, cheeses, and cured porks. They certainly aren’t fancy and the customers are usually old dudes standing around sipping whiskeys and toothpick fighting for that last olive. And while they have a little refrigerated case that displays the tapas of the day just like un autentico tapas bar in Spain, Pintxo is to a Spanish street bar as Bakery Nouveau is to Krispy Kreme. The fancification of folk food, so to speak.
I arrived about fifteen minutes before opening and they were kind enough to let me come in and start snapping the final preparations. I caught sight of Luuvu, who’d been to a Pintxo sneak preview earlier in the week and did a video for them you can check out here, helping out with the finishing touches.
Aren’t those red chef jackets dreamy?
Cory, one of the co-owners, made a joke about all the cameras in the place and then promptly whipped out his iPhone to show the stormtrooper photo he took hours earlier at Pike Place while buying flowers for the restaurant. He’s a very nice guy, working hard to ensure a great opening, but still taking the time to enjoy a laugh with the customers.
The fun part of attending an opening is that it’s more like a house-warming party, where the new owners proudly display their creations and seem genuinely curious as to how their guest are enjoying themselves. We had a great time meeting new people and trying out tasty new foods and drinks.
When our loverly server Andrea brought out the amuse bouche, she told us that while it may look like guac, it wasn’t. What does it look like to you?
I’m not an eater of guacamole, so to me it tasted like it looked–avocado’ish. After a few bites of guessing, she finally told us it was mashed peas with potatoes and other flavors. Which means I’ll now be asking the dudes at La Cocina if they’re sneaking peas into the green stuff.
We ordered four plates. The garlic stuffed mushrooms with red peppers (champinones $3), dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped with bacon (datiles $4), chorizo with cheese and leeks (fuet catalan blanco con Puerro $6.5), and tomato bread (pan con tomate $3).
The stuffed dates dish was my favorite. The sweet, chewy dates stuffed with tangy goat cheese and wrapped in bacon is about as good as it gets at Pintxo. Don’t leave without ordering it.
While the leeks were a bit awkward to cut into, the spicy chorizo made it worth it.
But let me talk about the reason I’ll be going back to Pintxo the next time I’m in Belltown–the cocktails. Ohh, the lovely cocktails.
The inti ($8.5) with a side of Canon.
The sangria (singria $6.5) is fruity and fizzy, but not too sweet (I like sweet and sour, so it could’ve been sweeter and tangier, but it’s still delicioso).
While the menu may change regularly, and I look forward to trying new items, I hope they keep the same cocktails (along with new ones if they’ve gotta do it), because that’ll be a good reason for me to keep coming back until I’m an old lady standing around sipping fancy whiskey and fighting for the last date with my toothpick.