the flavors of arzak

It feels sacred when you walk, calming colors, quiet and clean. The only way to go is the menu de degustación. Seven courses of sublimity. They carefully walk the line between science and flavor, playfulness and complete, serious devotion to food. I've been to other big-time restaurants whose cuisine satisfies the head more than the heart, stomach, or mouth. Arzak did it all. An unforgettable meal--and here are some of its unforgettable flavors, flavors that I can still summon. Flavors that were so delicious that it's almost painful to remember.

corn. sweet, fresh, and creamy, in pure form with figs and blood sausage. you could smell it from your seat.

mushroom. made into a dense cream and sandwiched between rice cakes.

foie. creamy in a soft shell, hidden beneath a crunchy top of fried manioc flour.

olive oil. from the simple, traditional beginning when it was served plain with bread, to the various tiny salads that came with each entree, the golden notes were highlights to the meal.

truffle+sesame. in the poached egg dish, alongside dried vegetable 'crumbs'.  earthy and nutty together, and even better when the creamy yolk drenches them.

sole. has to be the best animal on the menu. soft, buttery flesh, sweetly balanced with ginger oil.

venison. rich jus bathed the super tender game meat.

chocolate.  warm, cold, white, dark, dense, liquid, exploding, the whole gamut.

Arzak is a happy place.

menu de degustación

aperitif. a drink of white wine, amaretto and lime.

bread + olive oil.  oji blanco

amuse bouches. caldo de alubia roja con manzana (a broth of red bean with julienned apple). maíz, morcilla e higos (corn puree with blood sausage and figs) . puding de kabrarroka con fideos fritos (rockfish mousse wrapped in fried fideo noodles). arroz crujiente con hongos (crunchy rice with mushrooms). jamón con tomate (ham with tomato)

cromlech y cebolla con té y café. fried manioc pockets with foie, onions, tea, and coffee.

patata, bogavante y copaiba. crunchy potato with lobster and an extract from the Brazilian tree, copaiba.

huevo con temblor de tierra. 'poached' egg with truffle, sesame seeds and crunchy dried vegetables.
lenguado con aceite de jengibre y pan de coco. sole with ginger oil and coconut bread.

rape marea baja.monkfish at low tide, served with pimento spheres and shells of mussel and sugar. 
pato asado con maíz y flor de azahar. grilled duck with corn and citrus blossom.

estucaza. venison.
jugando a las canicas de chocolate. playing with chocolate marbles.
sopa y chocolate "entre viñedos". soup and chocolate "between vineyards".
hidromiel y fractal fluido. mead and fractal fluid.
piedra de pistacho y remolacha. pistachio stone and beet.