The new buzz in restaurants these days is farm to table. But how many restaurants have their source right on premises? Txokos does! Housed in the food hub of East End Market, Txokos is ideally steps away from the community vegetable garden. I would imagine there are sightings of the kitchen staff running out to the garden to snip fresh vegetables and herbs. Seconds later that wonderful produce is on your plate. Imagine that freshness. This is how food should be served.
See more interior pics on my Flickr.
There is a whole spiel that the servers deliver to educate our less than stellar brains about the whole Basque gastronomical society. I urge you to go and listen, I am not going to repeat it I might mess it up. I was too busy looking around and at the menu. The open concept of urbanism extended from East End Market to this space. High ceilings, dark wood, stained concrete, ornate lighting, large windows and front row seat to a bustling kitchen create a high energy welcoming atmosphere. The vibe is urban chic, without red velvet ropes but instead an earthy neighborly feel. The crowd is dressed up or dressed down it really doesn’t matter. There are a few tables outside along a passageway. The menu boast renderings from the Basque Region of Spain. Items are serves tapas or entre style. There are ample Spanish wines and beers.
FOIE duck two ways, liver, egg, porcini, potato puree. Amazingly tender and flavorful duck liver. It takes “melting in your mouth” to a whole new level. Break that duck egg and mix the whole thing together for an orgasmic experience. Top it off with a sip of the K5 Arginano, Hondarribi Zuri, Txakoli and you are transformed to Basque country (At least this is what I think it would be like, I’ve never really been to Basque, Spain).
PULPO DE GALLEGO - grilled octopus, potatoes, caramelized onion, salsa vizcaina. Tender texture with subtle smoky fresh flavors.
La Tremenda, Monastrell, Alicante - A big bold berrylike wine with ample spiciness to hit the palate in all different directions. The high tannic characteristics of Monastrell wine variety soften the gameness closer to the bone in the Oxtail.
OXTAIL “MATADOR” - braised in sherry, pimenton, mire poix, drunken goat cheese stone ground grits. Well cooked with a slight tug to get off the bone. Not a mush. As a single component the oxtail lacked flavor. However, a fork of all the elements in this dish really works in harmony. With a sip of the Monastrel, I felt like confronting a bull. (Hmm…no. I don’t like tight pants).
MORCILLA - sidra braised blood sausage, golden lentils, Napa cabbage, sherry syrup. I’ve been singing the praises of this morcilla every since I ate it. Bold Cinnamon and Clove spices fill your nostrils before even taking a bite. I am more blessed that rice is not used as a filler. These few pieces of blood is not enough for me, I want more and more and more.
J. Ordonez Seleccion Especial, Muscat, Malaga – A clean crisp acidic sweetness accented with tropical notes of pear and orange. Rolls off the tongue with a long lingering finish.
FLAN burnt caramel, blueberry balsamic reduction. A little on the eggy side which was a little off putting.
Txokos has all the elements to be a great restaurant. A little tightening on the quickness and attention to minor details in service can go a long way. There is a huge difference between practiced service perfection and genuine service. This being a neighborly area away from the theme parks, I expected a little more relax stiffness. Prices here are a bit on the steep side. I understand there is a price for well crafted food but let’s not get too carried away. All too often restaurants with great potential in Orlando fade because they get too caught up with themselves. If this restaurant contains itself it can be a neighborly staple for a long time. I hope it will.