Aatxe, the newest addition to the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group stable of restaurants (which includes Central Kitchen and Flour + Water) opens its doors tonight. The restaurant is the first project from former Flour + Water chef de cuisine Ryan Pollnow as a partner of Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, and in collaboration with The Bon Vivants (Trick Dog).
Drawing from Basque traditions, the 49-seat restaurant will encourage a convivial dining style, complete with a large communal table, white marble bars and ledges for standing with a small bite or glass of sherry. Designed by Stellah DeVille (Claro Designs), the restaurant recreates the charm of Northern Spain, using dark wood and Spanish tiles that recall the tapas bars of the Basque country.
The main offerings are traditional pintxos, small plates and larger cazuelas, inspired by Pollnow's experiences as a young chef cooking in Spain— most notably a two-year stint at two-Michelin-starred Mugaritz— with regional Northern California influences thrown into the mix. The opening menu (embedded below) includes Pollnow's versions of Basque dishes like Octopus salad with kohlrabi, avocado and salsa verde and morcilla chickpeas with braised pork cheeks, featured alongside classics like patatas bravas (potatoes with aioli and pimentón) and gambas al ajillo (shrimp with garlic and Nora chili). Pollnow also plans to take advantage of local seafood via his housemade conserva program, including items like olive oil-poached tuna and mussels escabeche. There's also a salt-grilled rib eye for two, if small plates just aren't enough for the red-blooded Americans among us.
The wine list is exclusively Spanish, focusing on grower-producer wines from various regions, with Spanish beer and cider on tap, and in bottles. Cocktails, from the clever Bon Vivants, include housemade gin and tonic on tap, as well as several sherry-focused drinks like the Pedro Romero, made with gin, Amontillado sherry, bell pepper cordial and almond bitters.
Aatxe is open Sunday-Thursday from 5:30 p.p.-11 p.m. and Friday- Saturday 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Reservations, which will be presumably hard to get, are available only for parties up to four— call to reserve a spot for larger groups.