• Posted by Califia Suntree on April 12th, 2010, 3:38 PM

    Much as I love pintxos (and I do love pintxos), sometimes you need to just sit down and eat. And sometimes you need a salad. We ate two tablecloth-and-silverware set-price meals in San Sebastian, at Bodegón Alejandro and ni neu, which, we later discovered, share the same owners. (They also claim the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Michelin-starred but recently burned-down Mugaritz). We had three memorable dishes at Bodegón Alejandro, a small cozy place we stumbled into in the Parte Vieja (given my blood sugar level, the stumbling was literal): inky arroz negro (black rice) topped with a roasted tomato stuffed with squid and swirled with some creamy sheep cheese; a bowl of plain-looking penne, scallops, shrimp and asparagus that got a whole new personality from a clear bacon broth; and a post-modern millefeuille deconstruction made of lacy sugar crisps, raisin cream and armagnac ice cream. It was like rum raisin Haagen Dazs Platinum edition.

    But on Easter Sunday we hit ni neu for dinner. We arrived when they opened (at 8:30) and left when they closed–nearly three hours later. It was shockingly affordable (31 euros each for 4 courses, a cava cocktail, a bottle of wine and mineral water) and delectable from beginning to end. My favorite bites were the garlicky wilted lettuce hearts on potato puree, the intensely flavorful slow-roasted beef with Idiazábal cheese whey foam (pictured. Spanish chefs heart espuma.) and one of the two desserts, little gelatinized peach “gnocchi” spiced with what tasted like white pepper, floating in a lime-zest and vanilla sauce. Turns out most of the dishes we had were on the menu at Restaurante Kursaal, the now-closed Michelin-starred restaurant upstairs from ni neu that was helmed by superchef Martin Berastegui before he left to open his own superrestaurant. So we got the Michelin experience at a 200 euro discount. Thrifty indeed!

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  1. April 16th, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Qué suerte! I’m drooling. Más fotos, por favor, y saludos a tu mama!

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