If any person objects to the union of two forms of anchovies in the pintxo matrimonio al ajillo at Ernesto’s, a Basque-leaning restaurant on the Reduce East Side, communicate now and I will eat yours for you. The matrimony of a boqueron (plump, meaty, and white, pickled in wine vinegar and olive oil) and an anchoa (a darkish, skinny, salt-remedied umami bomb) is holy without a doubt, manufactured holier by the kitchen’s determination to mount the pair, like prostrate marriage ceremony-cake toppers, on a rectangle of delicately crisp, buttery pastry. Though the fillets are divided by a neat line of ajillo, a zingy condiment of parsley and garlic, each chunk delivers them alongside one another in great harmony.
I have a emotion that none of the substances in the tortilla abierta con Cinco Jotas, meanwhile, are married, and if they are it’s not to 1 another. This is not to say that the chemistry isn’t electric—to set it politely, this might be the most lascivious dish I’ve ever encountered, an orgy of egg and potato browned on the edges and left unflipped (abierta signifies “open”) prior to it’s slipped from pan to plate. Established atop a wavy wafer-slim cracker, which turns it into finger food, it is layered with slices of acorn-fed paleta ibérico, produced by the hundred-and-forty-yr-outdated Spanish brand Cinco Jotas. (Paleta arrives from a pig’s shoulder, as opposed to jamón, from the hind.) Finished with a generous blanket of tender curls of heady black truffle, it is a sloppy, salty, a bit stupefying dish.
Truffle is an highly-priced ingredient that is so typically used cheaply, in the figurative perception, to peddle the notion of luxurious, regardless of no matter if it genuinely belongs in a dish. On the tortilla, it felt essential to the bewitching depth of taste, as did foie gras that had been melted into a port reduction spooned about wonderfully rosy slices of grilled duck magret. You can devote a small fortune having at Ernesto’s, but you can also, in my practical experience, trust the kitchen, led by the chef-husband or wife Ryan Bartlow, who earlier labored in San Sebastian, Spain at Alinea, in Chicago and at the Frankies Spuntino restaurant team and Frenchette, in New York.
Bartlow is aware just what to do with fewer flashy components, also. The ensalada mixta, an unexpectedly lovely arrangement of Minimal Gem lettuce hearts, shredded carrot, wedges of beet, silky segments of extra fat white asparagus, environmentally friendly olives, white onion, and grated tough-boiled egg, is totally fulfilling with or devoid of the optional addition of olive-oil-treated tuna from Cantabria. In Catalonia, a bikini is a pressed sandwich, named for a Barcelona live performance corridor, the variety of factor you can imagine scarfing late at night on a road corner to stave off a hangover. At Ernesto’s, the Bikini Hemingway—house-designed txistorra (a spicy, quick-remedied sausage), Menorcan cheese, and sweet shrimp sheathed in slices of crunchy pan de cristal, or glass bread—is quartered, fanned elegantly, and drizzled with honey.
Even a plate of braised vegetables can be a minor pretty: cross-sections of leek, standing upright, brush shoulders with turnips carved to have gemlike facets, pale slivers of pea pod, and geometric knobs of carrot, all shiny with cooking liquid and sprinkled with Espelette pepper. And however the macarrones con hongos is in essence stovetop mac and cheese, there is nothing at all childlike about it the pasta is enrobed in a velvety sauce, sharp with Idiazabal cheese and garlic, and topped with crispy maitake, yellowfoot, and black-trumpet mushrooms and a splash of parsley oil.
I can’t assist finding it corny that it’s Ernesto’s as in Ernest, as in Hemingway, but if Papa is Bartlow’s muse, so be it—the temper here, in an oasis of a dining room on a quite desolate block, is as romantic as the foodstuff. The great spherical-edged, globe-lit bar is an particularly wonderful location to sit, not the very least since of the quick-drinking still civilized cocktails, which include the 5 Finger Martini, produced with two sorts of vermouth and sherry alternatively of the hard stuff, and a dazzling, effervescent Spanish G. & T., with wheels of lime and grapefruit and sprigs of rosemary in a goblet functioning about. (Dishes $10-$42.) ♦