We often associate textural pleasures to foods divorced of flavor. Whether it be a bland bowl of oatmeal, the satisfying crunch of a pretzel rod, or the creaminess of tofu, the lack of taste is usually is made up for in comfort. So a dish that is both delicious and soothing is a rare pairing.
Flavor not only meets texture in Txikito’s pil pil ($18); they entwine and elope and go on a honeymoon to beautiful Basque country. The dish is created from traditional salt cod, which is poached in olive oil, until the oil slightly emulsifies into a Spanish schmaltz of sorts, draping the satiny piece fish with the purity of green olives and an undercurrent of garlic.
Opened in 2008, Txikito is the Basque-centric Chelsea restaurant that chef/owners/spouses Alex Raij and Eder Montero describe as a “love letter to a region whose cuisine is distinguished by simplicity and excellence in both ingredients and techniques.” This coming weekend, the restaurant celebrates its annual Txikifest street festival. Highlighting Basque country’s favorite wine, txakoli, the refreshingly effervescent sipper is paired with bites from Cucharamama’s Maricel Presilla and La Newyorkina’s Fanny Gerson, plus fare from Co., Wild Edible Oyster Bar, Pool’s Diner, Kuma Inn, Bar Mateo and Txikito’s sibling restaurants La Vara and El Quinto Pino. Txikifest is Sunday, May 4, from 1 to 5pm. Tickets are $50 and proceeds benefit Edible Schoolyard.