When husband-and-wife chef team Eder Montero and Alex Raij left beloved Chelsea tapas spots Tìa Pol and El Quinto Pino last spring, their fans wondered where their inventive Spanish food would turn up next. The answer came a month ago in the form of Txikito (chic-KEE-toe), the couple's new Basque restaurant on Ninth Avenue.
More spacious than their previous restaurants, Txikito is primed for foursomes who want to share tastes of the all-Basque menu and wine list. Start with a plate of dainty mushroom-and-shrimp-grilled-cheese sandwiches (txiki txanni, $8), an order of salty grilled peppers (piperrak, $9) and a simple-but-sublime plate of green beans served with slivers of golden garlic and olive oil (lekak, $9). Seafood highlights include briny marinated mussels (mejillón, $7), tender ribbons of grilled squid (txipiron encebollado, $16) and a quintessential Basque dish called pil pil ($18), made with oil-poached salt cod.
Beef lovers should go on Wednesday, when the nightly special is txuleton, a traditional Basque cut that might be the largest steak in the city. This outsize piece of protein runs upward of 64 ounces and serves four to six people.
Txikito, 240 Ninth Ave. (between 24th and 25th sts.); 212-242-4730 or txikitonyc.com