The Other Critics

Jonathan Kauffman Says Txoko’s a Victim of Overthinking

Txoko
Txoko Photo: Brian Smeets/Grub Street

Though Kauffman writes that two-month-old Txoko in North Beach is “thrumming with ideas and good cooking,” his general impression is that the place is less the casual Basque tapas joint it purported to be, and more the result of a lot of pent-up creativity from a talented chef who’s spent the last few years making sandwiches. He says that chef Ian Begg “has spent more time thinking up dishes than considering what it is like to eat a meal at his restaurant.” And while he enjoys the sweetbreads and squash-blossom pintxo, the pan-roasted halibut, and Begg’s cheese plates, he says that too many of the small plates seem overthought, and overly “brainy,” especially for such a small plate, like a two-bite uni dish with a quail egg and a bunch of other stuff going on. He says he was haunted, though, but the intuitively perfect pairing of a Basque-style cheese called txiki with roasted carrots. [SF Weekly]

Jonathan Kauffman Says Txoko’s a Victim of Overthinking