Bar Zeruko – Pintxos – País Vasco, Spain


Bar Zeruko

Calle Pescaderia 10, San Sebastian – Donostia, Spain

Known for the modern techniques employed by Bar Zeruko, these aren’t your ordinary pintxos! Once you step through the doors you are greeted with a dizzying array of pintxos in all sorts of shapes and forms.


Spheres of god knows what shaped into faux eggs and chunks of morcilla dusted with finely crushed pistachios. The green morcilla actually tasted like the Chinese variant of pork blood rice cake dipped in crushed peanuts.


Now these pintxos were more traditional looking. These pintxos consisted of club sandwiches, seared brie, gazpacho, and iberico hams.


Got the sea urchin pintxos from this group… how could I resist?


Got both versions of the “angulas” here. Always wanted to try the cheaper and fake surimi version of the famed angulas just to compare. These definitely were cheap; they tasted like nothing and didn’t have any texture. In other words, absolute shit compared to the real thing. Save your euros kids, better to skip these. Solana 4, Itxebarri, and Elkano serve the rare delicacy and can be eaten there (they are however highly seasonal so go between November and February).


Tartares,morcilla with eggs, and spring garlic wrapped with shrimp and filo.


More crazy unidentifiable pintxos.


Sea Urchin Custard with Salmon Roe

The sea urchin was thankfully pretty fresh (I find that most pintxos have been sitting around for a bit). It was mixed in nicely with some eggs, topped with salmon roe, and then broiled under the salamander to be reheated. The immense heat of the salamander curdled the custard a bit, but it was still pretty tasty. This was the first pintxos bar that I’ve been to that served sea urchin.


Fake Angulas, Potato, Egg Yolk, and Bread

Listen up, these fake angulas are a far cry from the real thing, don’t buy pintxos that contain them! You can tell if they are fake if: a. they aren’t expensive, b. artificial coloring, c. no eyes or fake eyes. Real ones have actual small eyes and fins attached to their bodies and have a nice al dente pasta texture. These fake angulas were paired with a potato and an egg yolk. The disc is a piece of white bread. Underwhelming to say the least.


Foie Gras Mousse Wrapped with Porcini Gelee, Shiny Copper Garnish

Foie mouse wrapped in a gelee of porcini mushrooms. The flavors were nice and looked visually appealing, but the copper garnish added nothing to the dish but glam.

Fake Angulas, Slaw, Filo Cone

It was creamy, somewhat similar to the fake krab filling found in California rolls, and crunchy on the outside. It wasn’t bad if you want something very boozy, this is stuff that you would want to eat at 3 AM stoned and drunk.

They also had a vast list of hot pintxos and small plates that the kitchen prepares.


We decided to try the squid burger and the smoked bacalao dish.


Squid Burger – Squid Ink “Sponge”, Squid Ink Aioli, Wasabi

Weird in conception, but tasted pretty good. I especially loved the kick the wasabi gave to the dish and gave it an almost Japanese-ish taste. The bartender warned me to be careful with the wasabi… baha I’m Chinese, I can handle 100x more spicy food than your average Basque person. Visually appealing, but the sponge was a weird texture and felt like eating a savory marshmallow. Bar zeruko definitely nails it on the head presentation wise, but most of their pintxo garnishes are gaudy and superficial.


Charcoal Smoked Bacalao Gravlax – Aioli, Chive Spheres, Salad Shooter

This was by far the best dish at Bar Zeruko. The bacalao was freshly cured and we were instructed to place the bacalao over a smoldering piece of charcoal (which I believe was a smoldering quarter of the same charcoal used to power hookahs) for 20 seconds. Hesitant on the smoke actually giving the fish any true smoky flavor, it was actually really great. Smoky, fatty, unctuous bacalao that ate like tuna belly. The aioli crack was a nice finish to the dish and the salad shooter rounded out all the rich fattiness with vegetal bitter and fresh flavors. I personally thought the tube of salad liquid was clunky and hard to drink out of. The flavor of the salad liquid was unappealing… rather harsh and raw. All in all though, the best piece of bacalao that I’ve eaten in País Vasco.


I definitely recommend Bar Zeruko for their creative pintxos compared to the traditional ones that you usually find everywhere else. Bar Zeruko offers something different from the rest, and that’s definetly worth checking out in Parte Vieja.

~ by Clifton Su on February 17, 2013.

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