[Pigging by Wilfrid: September 30, 2013]
And I walk past a lot--and usually keep on walking, because it's always very full. Really, despite the name, it's become a neighborhood fixture, packed nightly. The hostess, on a warm evening, actually greets people on the sidewalk. I guess it saves a square foot inside. Also, the owners have opened the equally cheekily named Xixa (think shiksa), a few doors down.
On a recent evening, I saw seats at the bar, and grabbed one. I had forgotten that you can't put your knees under the bar.
The food is still good; some of it very good. But I was reminded of some current informal dining practices--traits, I guess--that are a deterrent to enjoying a leisurely meal. For one thing, there was the understaffed bar. One guy, no matter how energetic, cannot make and serve cocktails--and all other beverages--for the entire restaurant, and devote attention to serving five or six diners at the bar.
For another thing, there's the dogma that plates will emerge whenever the kitchen thinks appropriate. I could have made a fuss and tried to have the meal coursed. Might have worked. As it transpired, a fish dish came first, followed very closely by meat. Then after a very long wait--and inquiries--a cauliflower dish. It was like getting a savory vegetable fish as dessert.
This all helps to screw up your wine order, of course. I was still drinking cava when the meat showed up. My red wine came as I finished it, and I ended up saving the last sips of Pinot for the cauliflower/ black grape dish it didn't really go with.
The seared butterfish was interesting: creamy, and also slightly gassy from the blowtorch. A slice of pork belly was chewy at one end, unctuous at the other; a curious feat. Black grapes showed up with the pork as well as the cauliflower. I have to say, the fried chicken, one of the few large plates, looked very tempting.
The website badly needs updating.