Bocadillos provides counterprogramming to nearby Chinese and Italian restaurants.
Gerald Hirigoyen and wife Cameron opened Bocadillos in the Financial District in July 2004, naming this Basque tapas restaurant for the small Spanish sandwiches. Chef Hiroyen was a longtime chef at Fringale, and left just this year to focus exclusively on Bocadillos and his other Basque restaurant, Piperade.
The contemporary space is framed by an orange wall on one side and slatted black wood on the other. We sat in the middle, at the end of a communal wood table. The crowd, and the servers were young and fashionable, except for a group of middle-aged triplets, who stank of perfume, and of course had to sit in our line of smell.
To start, we shared five Pintxos (Basque tapas). They speared watermelon, cucumber, and feta cubes ($1.50 each) and dusted with Espelette pepper, produced in a Pyrenees village. Chilled prawn skewers ($2.50 each) co-starred guindillas (green pickled chile peppers) and “huevos Diablo” involved deviled eggs dusted with smoky red Pimenton.
We selected simply grilled shell-on prawns ($13) from the A La Plancha category, dressed with garlic “flakes” and lemon confit.
Impeccable seared ahi ($12) slices marinated in Meyer lemon dressing and joined grapefruit and orange segments on the plate. Citrus imparted a sweet-tart one-two punch.
A bowl of feathery fried calamari came with zesty Romesco ($8). Romesco is a popular Spanish condiment made with red peppers, olive oil, almonds and several other components.
Porcini mushrooms ($9) sautéed with roasted garlic, thyme and thin-shaved Manchego. The mushrooms probably could have done without cheese, since they had plenty of flavor on their own.
Since we were at Bocadillos, we had to order a couple Spanish sandwiches. There was a gaffe, and we ended up with two of the same sandwich, but at least it was the version with Catalan sausage and shaved Manchego ($5 each). The luscious pork slab arrived on soft olive bread with arugula.
The Catalan sausage bocadillo deserves a second look, since there can never be enough meat photos.
We skipped Innard Circle – pickled tongue, pigs trotters and foie gras – and went more traditional for our meat entree. Beautifully charred Painted Hills bavette steak ($13) slices were slathered with chimichurri ($13), the Argentine parsley sauce made with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic that rendered the roasted meat incredibly tender.
Even though we’d already devoured eight dishes, my father spotted a couple eating Patatas Bravas ($7) at the bar and couldn’t resist. Thick-cut seasoned fries were sprinkled with more pimenton and came with more Romesco.
Since we over-ordered, we didn’t have room for Dulce & Frutas. Guess I’ll have to save room for warm coconut bread pudding and “Arm of a Gypsy” next time.