One time stellar Cafe Majestic duo Ryan Maxey and chef Ian Begg have been talking about this "Basque-style gastropub" since early 2009. We filled you in on the basics and the logo; and now Begg tells us the fire marshall is happy with them and he's fairly confident Txoko (pronounced "tchoke-oh") will open in the former Enrico's digs before May is out. Begg kindly passed on this early menu iteration to give us (and you) the gist of what's to come very soon. Notice about eight pintxos (bites) in the three to five dollar range, small plates all under $12, a few larger items and cheese and sweets to round things out.
It's all inspired by a trip to San Sebastian two years ago, when Begg and Maxey noticed distinct parallels between there and here, and were particularly taken by the modern style at Aloña Berri and the old world feel of Casa Gandarias. There's also a lot of French influence in Basque cuisine; this suits French-trained Begg quite well.
They're going for a free-wheeling vibe, so diners can feel comfortable grabbing one or two bites at the bar or a longer, drawn-out meal. Maxey will oversee a wine list of food friendly, mostly lower alcohol bottles from Spain and Portugal. Spirits program director Jason Brown (Kokkari, Michael Mina, Hawthorne Lane) is from Kentucky, so we'll see a strong lean towards whisky, bourbon and other barrel-aged spirits. There will be "concise specialty cocktails" of note as well.
Interior-wise the changes from the Enrico's days are mostly cosmetic. Back bar and other surfaces have been lined with wood, booths are refurbished with dark tan leather. A 10-seat communal table was brought in. And earth tones everywhere create a "tavern feel." Making this an appropriate industry hang, food will be served Tuesday through Sunday until 1:30 a.m. and the bar will stay open until 2 a.m. But you won't see post-shift chefs banging out tunes on Enrico's old piano. It's been removed; though Txoko may bring in live music in the future. Lets just get the doors open for now. More soon.