Last night was the media preview and soft launch of Txoko. Because it's located in the old Enrico's space, we knew we were in for a larger-than-life and somewhat swanky affair. We first reported in February that the Naked Lunch guys, Ryan Maxey and Ian Begg, were taking over the neighboring restaurant. Txoko, which we believe is pronounced choke-oh, is a Basque-style restaurant serving mostly small plates and cocktails. Of course, many jokes were made about the confusion and hilarity that will ensue when you tell your cabbie to drop you at the tapas bar on Broadway.
The neighborhood restaurateurs showed up to support the opening, including staffers from 15 Romolo and Comstock Saloon. Even Dick Boyd, owner of the old Pierre's Nightclub in North Beach and author of Broadway North Beach: The Golden Years, was there. With a location so iconic, the reception was fitting.
Now on to the important stuff: food and drinks.
The serrano-infused tequila livened upthe Caliente Sunrise, the drink of the night. The light bites that excited us most were the mushroom empanadas. Served piping hot, the flaky dough was stuffed with an array of mushrooms, manchego, and sweet Vidalia onions. Another favorite plate was the junipero-cured salmon, served with pickled radishes on a toasted baguette and topped with crème fraiche.
The official opening date is May 31, so get ready to work on your "tapas" and "topless" word pronunciation. Or don't: North Beach is always an adventure.