If you’re not in the loop on such things and perhaps don’t spend a whole lot of time in Belltown, you might think that you had just misremembered the name of the restaurant. I can imagine this conversation in my own head, quite easily: “Wait a second. I thought that the name of this place was Txori?? But it looks the same as the last time I was here and has a name that’s really similar…” Nope, you’re not going crazy. Pintxo, open just three months now, occupies the space most recently vacated by Txori, and like Txori serves an array of Spanish nibbles or “pintxos,” thus the name. Clever, eh?
On a recent visit I was pleased to see that the interior hadn’t changed, since that was likely my favorite part of the restaurant’s last incarnation. And lo and behold, those red doors that I’d loved so much from the inside in April were flung open to the petite patio just beyond.
It’s quite the urban space, carved out between a couple of buildings and feeling rather un-Seattle, actually. It felt more like summer patios I experienced while living in DC, where you nabbed whatever sliver of space you could. I liked the feeling of being between buildings, in this lovely quiet oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
And service matched that vibe, actually: present and helpful, without being over-solicitous. We sampled two of the happy hour beverages, the Crooked Belgian Wit (a beer was described as a cross between Hoegarten and Blue Moon) and the Tinto Verano (red wine, Sprite, and a dash of soda). Both just the right drinks for a warm summer early evening. And then, everything on the happy hour food menu: Morcilla de Arroz (inexplicably topped by popcorn), Catalan Sausage; Bacon Wrapped Date (you can never go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon); Toasted Almonds; Cocktail Mix; and Baked Egg and Ham, that last one a hash of asparagus, onion, red pepper, egg, and ham.
I will say that we were there for happy hour and certainly, I need to sample items from the regular menu. Though I did look closely at such plates that passed by our table, and my difficulty with Pintxo seems to be the same as it was with Txori: portion sizes are petite in proportion to price. Perhaps my perception of portion reflects an American rather than a European sensibility, but it feels as though the value proposition is a bit askew. Though the service is terrific and the outside space is lovely, so maybe it’s all worth it.
Go sit outside on a warm summer evening, sample a few things here and there, and tell me if I’m just an American sizeist. Write in and tell me if you think that I’m crazy and that Pintxo is the bee’s knees. Or rather, the equivalent expression in Spanish…