Because when the opportunity comes to return to a magical place like the terrace of Asador Etxebarri, I jump… That is, I jump on a plane. I’m a planner, a pretty decent one at that, but every so often I mix it up with a dash of impulse. A combination of procrastination, spontaneity and peer pressure resulted in a pre-day purchase of my ticket back to Basque Country, just in time for San Sebastián Gastronomika. No regrets. First stop right off the plane from Bilbao? Without a second thought, Asador Etxebarri. How lucky I am to have been invited for yet another fantastic meal at Etxebarri, only this time we sat on the terrace. I couldn’t begin to describe how significantly “time and place” played in the magic of this meal. Incredible natural lighting peeked through the clouds wafting over the mountains as my best friend in Spain–my Seoul sister–and I were reunited for an unforgettable long lunch prepared by one of the warmest Basque chefs I know, Victor Arguinzoniz. The menu was like the conversation, visiting an old friend and reminiscing over good times as we enjoyed the warmth and familiarity of Victor’s greatest hits–the goat’s butter on toast with charcoal, the two succulent, spooning prawns, the perfectly cooked medium-rare chuleta–and also creating new adventures as we experienced new dishes–the mejillones en escabeche, playfully served in a can, hongos y berenjena, where never before, the eggplant stole the show, and a pastel vasco con higos to defy all others.
We finished the perfect meal by returning to the kitchen to thank the maestro and tell him how lucky I am that every time I return, I am greeted and served by his wife in the dining room and then entertained by him in the cocina afterwards. This asador is truly special, makes me feel special and at home.
Plaza San Juan I
48291 Atxondo, Bizkaia
94 658 30 42