When you have someone that has lived in New York City for the past five years, and they come to visit, where do you take them for dinner? If you are smart, you make reservations ahead of time at one of the local favorites like Tilth or Crush or anything by Tom Douglas. If you are me, you wait until the last minute, and then try and figure something out. Well normally I don’t do that, but I forgot he was coming (it was for our class reunion, not to visit me..don’t judge!). I initially suggested Umi, but day-of reservations are damn near impossible and we didn’t want to take our chances on bar seating. So, I pulled up OpenTable, and did a quick search. One of the first, and most familiar, names that popped up was Pintxo. I’ve been following them on Twitter for a few months, but had not yet gone. This seemed like a great opportunity to rectify that situation.
Pintxo (pronounce Peen-Cho) is a Spanish tapas place in Belltown. In fact, Pintxo means “tapa”, usually served on a skewer or toothpick. It is a pretty small place, tucked in amongst a couple condos that I nearly missed as I was walking by. There is a long bar that also has the cooking space that runs along the left wall and seating as you go back through the narrow spot. There is a small covered patio out the back for Seattle outdoor dining. The walls are decorated with local artwork that gives it a bit of an eclectic feel. I was led to one of the high tables near the back where I ordered a drink and settled in to wait for Scott and his fiancé Danielle (who will be featured more prominently in the upcoming New York posts…at her request of course).
Fifteen minutes after the reservation, they finally made their way into the restaurant. Scott blamed Danielle, but I think it was probably 50/50. Fortunately the evening was off to a slow start…it would fill up more later. They ordered their drinks, and we started looking at the menu. One of the nice things about a tapas place is that they are a lot of small plates, so you get to try a lot of different things without it being too terribly expensive. And the more people, the more things that get ordered. So, when the waitress returned with our drinks, we had a list of 7 different things for her. Scott started listing them off in his best Spanish accent, pausing at one point to ask if she would remember them (she did) and then forgetting to order the pork sliders that Danielle had said she wanted at least a half dozen times.
We had been chatting for about five minutes when the plates started arriving in what I’ve come to see as traditional tapas fashion…when is ready it goes out. No other particular order. This led to constant, organizing, rearranging, photographing, eating, and clearing of plates for the next ten minutes; a veritable dance of 6 hands in constant motion (there is some artistic production from this, I’m sure). And it also led to this wonderful food collage:
When we finished and headed off to meet more friends for drinks, we were all pretty satisfied. The food was very good for the most part; definitely better than Tango in Seattle, but not quite up to Mercat a la Planxa levels. And the prices were reasonable, though we did get charged for the extra bread to sop up all the mussel broth. It was different than Umi for sure, but that’s ok…things worked out. It gave us an opportunity to talk over good food and drinks; though you have to be careful with the Martello drink… it’s delicious, but that lime can just go flying when you are talking. And it was great getting to know Danielle who is a fun and interesting person (I’m convinced she lost a bet…). I would say that Pintxo is definitely worth the visit, especially if you are planning on going out in Belltown. A great way to start your night if you are young, or a great way to end your night if you are old like me (the kitchen is open until midnight).