BURRUNTZI : TOLOSA, BASQUE COUNTRY

Tolosa — that small town where a good steak is not hard to find.

It's my home away from my home away from home. And any excuse I can grab to visit it, I do. Only 30 minutes by train, a train that stops practically on my doorstep, it's easy enough to pop over for a meeting, a lunch, a stop at the market, or just a drink.

And then, they have restaurants like this one, restaurants that look like garages from the outside, and fairy tales on the inside.

Restaurants that, as soon as you sit down, swoop in with a plate of cured chorizo.

Burruntzi is an asador, one of those hallowed institutions that devotes nearly all their attention to grilling animals and fish.  This precise attention means that they often reach levels of perfection that a restaurant with a more ample selection doesn't. And, seriously, just take a look at the raw material.

 That other steakhouse in Tolosa is without a doubt the reigning king. But Burruntzi has an amazing price to quality ratio, as well as being just utterly authentically taska. 

When in Tolosa, eat steak, with confit piquillo peppers (Basque version of ketchup), and a simple onion-lettuce salad, dressed with apple cider vinegar.

It's simplicity, it's perfection. Depending on who you ask, the secret of these peppers is the liquid they were preserved in, or a splash of rum, a pinch of sugar, or some flakes of garlic....and, of course, time.

Depending on who you ask, the secret to the txuleta steak is the grill. Some say it's the cow, citing the bovine's first name to show you how humane of a life they lived.

And then there's no discounting the all-important green salad. Often overlooked but often the crowning counterpoint in a steak dinner, its vinegar-y bite is the perfect contrast to the yellow cow fat.

Tolosa...so many steaks, so little time