We have a long held dream of one day setting out on the ultimate #EEEEEATS adventure, road tripping through a foreign country in style like Batali and Bittman in Spain...On The Road Again (watch it if you haven't). And while a couple of months in Spain isn't in the cards at the moment, spending one night in Basque Country is. Because Basque Country has come to First Avenue. Sort of.
Huertas is a new Spanish restaurant in the East Village inspired by the Basque region of Northern Spain. The owners realized that although NYC has many a Spanish restaurant, none of them focuses on the small plates called "pintxos" that you find in this part of the country. At Huertas, they roll around dim-sum-style with trays of these one bite snacks, and some of them are quite tasty. Some, not so much. Unfortunately, concept as a whole doesn't take well. In this setting, we'd rather just order the food we want instead of spending an evening continually turning things down.
That inconvenience aside, the food at Huertas is pretty damn good, and it's a really fun place to hang out. While the passed pinxtos change daily, there's a permanent menu of larger plates that, when you order right, can make for an excellent meal. There's also a formal restaurant in the back dining room, that serves a four-course tasting menu every night for $52. Lots going on here.
No, Huertas will not transport you to Northern Spain, but they will serve up one of the best octopus dishes we've ever had, along with some excellent brews. This is another solid addition to 1st Avenue's restaurant row, and is certainly a place to get on the radar for the next time you're looking to get some #EEEEEATS with a side of Action at the Bar.
Some of our favorites include: Shrimp and Egg, which is one of the best shrimp salad's we've ever had, Asparagus and Jamón, a winning combination in any situation, and mussels.
Pretty much as good as a Spanish egg tortilla gets. We always double up on these when we're here.
They do good work on this classic Spanish dish. If you're a fan of anchovies, do it up.
All kinds of mushrooms, in a warm bowl of stewed garlic. You want this.
Chorizo and Eggs
By far and away our favorite dish on the Huertas menu. The chorizo packs some heat, and there is all sorts of deep sweet and savory flavor going on.
Pulpo a la Gallega
No joke, this is one of the best octopus dishes we've ever had. Cooked in a pressure cooker so it gets all kinds of tender, the octopus is then finished off with a nice pan sear. We'll be coming back, just for this.
The Spanish answer to ramen, using potato strands as noodles and served with a poached egg and chorizo vinaigrette. It's spicy and flavorful, yet not as satisfying as it as it looks.
Cans y Conservas
Listen, we're all for tins of seafood served with cans of beer, but for some reason the whole cold shellfish thing just doesn't do it for us. We tried the scallops, the mussels, and the clams, and we couldn't really get down with any of them. The beer, however, we liked.
Cured meats. Special, Iberico-esque cured #meeeeeats. Order them.