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11. May 2013: Restaurant Asador Etxebarri

| June 4, 2013 | 0 Comments

One word to describe this “experience”: disappointment! I have been at number 11, 36 and 38 of the world and figured when I go to number 31, it should be somehow comparable but it wasn’t.

For a relatively low price of EUR 125.00 (excl. VAT) the tasting menu was offered which of course I had to try. And it actually started promising. A selection of starters was a great entry into the evening starting with “chorizo elaborated from acorn-fed pork” …


… very tasty “butter of goat’s milk with black salt” which was incredibly tasty …


… and furthermore something which really triggered my senses – “smoked mozzarrella di buffalo”. This was absolutely delicious!


Even the pretty simple dish of “salted anchovy with toasted bread” was fine – I mean it was nothing mind-blowing but very sound.


The last part of the starter selection was a “cracker with thinly cut fresh raw mushrooms”. The taste of fresh raw mushrooms was quite amazing – honestly I had high expectations still after the starters. And to some degree they were still met with the first course …


… which were “Prawns from Palamos”. Definitely a simple dish but their meat was great. Even better was sucking out their brains – although it needed some effort to try it – I must say it was absolutely mouth-watering.


And then, the course of disappointment slowly started. First was “sea cucumber with green beans”. Okay, I have never had sea cucumber before so at least it was something new but the consistency of a sea cucumber is very chewy and while the green beans which came with it were tasty, there was no effect of the combination of the two ingredients.


Next was “baby octopus with caramelized onion and its ink” which was a slight movement up the expectation curve again. The baby octopus was good – but again nothing mind-blowing.


When “mushrooms of spring (Calocybe gambosa)” were served I thought that this chef must somehow lack creativity. I mean, we already had raw mushrooms as part of the starter so serving a raw mushroom kind of soup with no distinct taste combination is just disappointing.


After the already disapoointing “mushroom course”, “green peas with its juice” were served. No question, they were tasty green peas but honestly this is definitely not what I expect of a number 31 of the world.


The “anchovy and arugula” provided the anchovy at least in a different state of preparation but still – again it was somehow redundant although at least fine.


When the “red rock mullet” was served, my hopes were raised again. But unfortunately they were not met. The fish tasted pretty much like nothing – and the fried carrot on top of it was kind of the most “surprising” element of the night.


As almost all courses before had a subtle taste of “smoke”, at least the main course was of high quality and as you would expect a good main course to be. The “beef chop of Galician beef” which was served as a huge piece for five people was truly amazing. Great grilled crust, rich and aromatic meat, perfect! The only problem is that the other courses were just somehow not making up for it as you would expect a way more refined approach to food when dining at this kind of restaurant.


Something light and fine was served thereafter – a “smoothie of blood orange” which was refreshing and fulfilled its purpose.


The first real dessert course was a “marshmallow with strawberries”. While it sounded interesting I must say that this was just a “what the fuck” moment. The marshmallow was exactly that with absolutely no refinement, the strawberries were admittedly fresh and yummy but the combination of the two was for absolutely no effect at all.


Next was “reduced milk ice cream with a red fruit infusion” which was actually – for a change – quite tasty (unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture). Also the “mignardise” was definitely fine. Unfortunately, when you think – after approximately 8 to 10 courses – that the mignardise was among the best things you ate this evening, then something went wrong.


At least when we arrived, the service was friendly and we were offered a bottle of local wine (EUR 18.00) to bridge the time until the restaurant actually opened (it only opens at 8:30pm).


The interior of the restaurant is absolutely nice – which also raised my expectations. It is simply and spaciously furnished – a nice mixture between dining with your family and having your privacy.


The place looks even lovlier from the outside …


… and you actually enjoy to just sit outside and enjoy a couple of drinks …


… in the very nice outside environment.


Besides the fact that is is absolutely beautiful there, the interior is nice, the food disappointing (for my expectations) and unfortunately so is the service. While the sommelier was friendly and supportive although not speaking English, the rest of the waitresses was rather unattentive and somehow unprofessional. When we asked for more water, it took them ages to bring it. When I was still eating the plates of my friends were removed. Somehow, it was just a huge disappointment – especially at this level! At least the beverages were payable – a bottle of water for EUR 4.00, an espresso for EUR 2.00 and last but not least a bottle of “Grano A Grano” for EUR 60.00 (fine recommendation of the sommelier to the menu).

At the end, when we asked for the bill and it took them ages to come to us to bring the bill and let us pay, we were offered a schnaps where I had the feeling they tried to make up for it. Well, too late, my dears.

To sum it up, it is not worth going. The place is absolutely remote (and you need to rent a car in order to get there) and very nice but the dishes you get there are just disappointing for the level they are supposed to cook at. The service was definitely not outstanding either but at least you do not spend too much money there as the prices are comparatively low. Still, if you decide to dine at one of the Top 50 restaurants of the world you should better not come here.


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Contact Details:

Restaurant Asador Etxebarri

Plaza San Juan 1

48291 Atxondo / Axpe (E)

Tel.: +34 94 65 83 042

E-Mail: reservas@asadoretxebarri.com

Homepage: http://www.asadoretxebarri.com

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.

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