SMALL BITES, BIG EATS IN SANTA MONICA
Offering wonderfully tasty small bites, Bar Pintxo is an authentic Spanish tapas bar in Santa Monica that offers a unique combination of outstanding food and cocktails in an intimate, yet inviting atmosphere.
From Chef Joe Miller, of Venice’s highly popular Joe’s Restaurant, his Santa Monica location features an impressive and exclusive Spanish wine and beer list that represents wines from every region in Spain, comprised of small and traditional family-owned wineries throughout the Spanish wine regions.
Chef David Plonowski, who studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, strives to take Old World Spanish dishes and elevate them to new heights by using modern cooking techniques, market driven produce and only the freshest ingredients. During our recent visit, we had picked popular tapas to start with but instead decided to go with Chef David’s personal recommendations, which proved to create an even better evening of fine foods than we thought possible.
Thursday nights feature Bar Pintxo’s Tasting Menu, which includes a three-course meal for $29, and for an additional $15 they will pair every course with the perfect wine. FYI, they are now offering a 10% discount on your check if you bring in a movie ticket stub from any Santa Monica theater, so stop in before or after a movie for a quick bite.
Chef David’s menu completely changes every two months and his Tasting Menu changes weekly. We started with a chef recommended glass of wine and a market-inspired house specialty cocktail in the Kalimotxo Cubano, Spain’s favorite summer drink with a custom kick made with light rum, lime and Garnatxa wine, topped with cola. Another terrific summer cocktail is the ORO Refresco, a refreshing blend of fresh dill and berries along with ORO Torontel Pisco and lime. Paired with a small plate of Cured Cod Croquetas and you know you’re off to a great start.
Our evening’s pre-selected menu started with a light and tasty Salmon Crudo con Esparragos Blanco Asados (Salmon with Pink Peppercorns, and Grilled White Asparagus). It was wonderfully citrus-based and was paired with a savory Flavian white wine.
Our second course was a definite dinner highlight. The succulent Tocino con Flores de Calabasas (Pork Belly with Baby Zucchini) was simply mouthwatering.
Next, were a couple of dishes the chef insisted we try, and we thank him very much for that, as the transcendent Duck Breast with Lentils, which was paired to perfection with a 2008 Ostatu-Crisnza-Tempranillo-Rioja Alavesa (now a favorite red wine of mine), was unbelievable. As were the savory Beef Cheeks, which were ever so tender. I must say, these two dishes were fantastic and definite must-have orders, along with the pork belly. They alone would have made for a to-die-for dinner. And they’re perfect for sharing.
Dessert seemed simple enough, Tarta de Tangelo, Sorbete de Fresas (Minneloa Tangelo bar with Strawberry Sorbet), yet elevated our taste buds to Nirvana.
Bar Pintxo also features a fine retail store, which offers Spanish Jamons (ham), cheese, olives and other Spanish foods and wine so you can create your own Spanish experience at home. Happy Hour features their "Six-for Six" menu that allows you to indulge and enjoy six tapas from the Happy Hour menu for only $6. House made Sangria for $4 and Stella Artois for only a $1.50 will really get your evening going.
Bar Pintxo is located at 109 Santa Monica Blvd. in Santa Monica. Hours: Monday - Tuesday 12pm - 10pm; Wednesday - Friday 12pm - 11pm; Saturdays 12pm – 12am; Sundays 12pm - 10pm. Call 310-458-2012.