What To Order At Jonah Miller's Huertas, A Basque Tapas Restaurant In The East Village | Tasting Table NYC

Basque-style tapas in the East Village

We're in a dark wood-paneled pinxtos bar in San Sebastián. Using our teeth to pull stacks of pale green guindilla peppers, manzanilla olives and fat white anchovies off skewers ($3), sipping on Txakoli ($11) from a squat tumbler, drinking and snacking and talking the night away.

There are friendly servers in all-black uniforms and those tins filled with useless see-through paper napkins you see everywhere in Spain. The only sign we're actually in the East Village: Nobody's crumpling up the napkins and throwing them on the floor.

Peter Hoffman of Savoy and Back Forty West is just a couple of tables over at Huertas, feasting on little plates of braised octopus dusted with smoked chile powder ($13)–Jonah Miller, the young chef here, used to work for him.

Miller has a way with mushrooms: Many kinds, simply cooked, bright with vinegar and smoked garlic, piled in a ceramic dish ($10). You'll probably want more, but there are other things to taste. Pace yourself.

To work up an appetite, order some vermouth ($8) made in-house from a base of Tempranillo and sherry and infused with citrus, angelica, gentian and cinnamon. It's on tap, so it arrives quickly, clinking with a few ice cubes and a lemon twist, and it's delicious.

In Spain, you'd have a drink, a bite or two, then move on to the next spot. But this neighborhood isn't exactly teeming with Basque-style tapas bars, so just settle down and stay a while.

Some things aren't on the menu. They'll show up dim-sum style. This means that, in a few minutes, one of the servers is bound to come your way with a wide silver platter of lamb meatballs, sardines and butter on thin toasts with raw radish, fried salt cod or Gildas–those pepper-olive-anchovy stacks you'd be a fool to miss.

And how often can you have a beautiful thing just because you pointed to it?

Huertas, a new Basque-style tapas bar in the East Village, has us head over heels. 

Jonah Miller, a Savoy alum, runs the kitchen. He has a way with mushrooms (trust us).

The restaurant is making vermouth in house, and serving it on tap.

The citrus-infused vermouth is made from a base of sherry.

The Basque know how to enjoy pulpo, or octopus.

Tender potato strands, thin as noodles, with a chorizo vinaigrette and a very softly poached egg. 

Boquerones, Spain's white anchovies, are a must-order. They come with olives, peppers, and potato chips.

Miller has a fondness for egg dishes, and there are plenty on the menu at Huertas.

Asparagus with migas and a perfect fried egg.

The illustrations on the menu correspond with what's on the beautiful silver trays. Point to what you like and your server checks it off.

The passed pinxtos at Huertas. You don't know when they're coming, but you know you want them.

There are tables in the front plus plenty of seating at the bar.

Jonah Miller steps out for a quick snack in the back of the restaurant.

The Huertas team.

Miller makes his own sausage–studded with green garlic.

It's served in the back room (pro tip: make a reservation).

Lamb leg with green garlic sausage (pictured earlier) and romesco sauce.

Room for dessert? Go with the grapefruit.