Restaurant: Bar Zeruko
Location: Arrandegi Kalea, 10, Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Date: June 17, 2016
Cuisine: Modernist Pintxos
Rating: Funky Zoo
At the zenith of craziness on the mountain of “typical pintxos format” is Bar Zeruko which serves up an individually plated bread of modernist pintxos.
This is awesome for 2 people popping in for a drink and a bite to eat — but on a busy Friday night with 7 people a meal is a bit of “an experience.”
Let me explain how Zeruko works. While some of your party crams around a spare stool or two — likely in 2-3 separate clusters far from each other — you elbow your way into the fantastically crowded bar. There, after trying your best impersonation of a hot 23 year-old 100 pound girl (doesn’t work so well at twice that age & weight not to mention the wrong gender) you attempt to gain eye contact with one of the two extraordinarily overworked bartenders. After accomplishing this miracle, you might order a drink and ask for a plate — albeit a tiny one. You then load up your plate with appealing looking confections without any regard to what they might actually be. If you are lucky the bartender will take back your plate and then proceed, after some extended length of time, to individually cook, plate, and dress each item. These will be serially thrust back at you and you can offer them to your companions to eat while standing.
How the staff actually manages to prep these things in such short order (meanwhile serving drinks) is also a miracle.
Oh, and how they keep track of what you ordered? You can pay much latter after multiple such orders and I never saw a pencil or other recording device. I suspect they “lose” 10% of all the pintxos served.
In any case, on to the food. Unfortunately the insane crowds didn’t really allow me to photograph the plated dishes, which is a shame because they looked rather lovely. Here are some in their larval formal, before cooking, prepping, and dressing.
Fruity gel ball? Hard to tell what this was other than it was sweet and had a somewhat jelly-like texture. It was good though.
Below was a peppers, cheese, and egg pintxos.
You can see mushrooms, sliders, and the like.
These foie gras wrapped in chocolate gel with truffles. On toast, of course. Rich and super yummy.
A seafood something on a dry ice cone. It’s really sad that I didn’t capture more of the creative and whacky output. Sigh.
Overall, I really needed to come back to Zeruko during a quiet lunch or something — with no more than 3 people. If I had, I’m sure I would have been able to pick, photograph, and sample their wares much more effectively. I actually tasted about 15 pintxos the night I went, and many of them were delicious, and most looked very cool, but the chaotic nature of the “scene” and the demand of two different groups of family to be supplied with new dishes made it impossible to document.
If you are in San Sebastian I recommend you try it yourself. Just don’t go with a big group!