Spanish Cuisine at Aatxe, Just Opened in Cafe du Nord Building
April 17 was the opening date of long-awaited Aatxe (pronounced "aah-CHAY") on the dramatically transformed ground floor of the Swedish American Hall and Cafe du Nord (the latter, one of SF's legendary live-music venues, is set to reopen in a month or so, with new decor and menus). Ne Timeas Restaurant Group (Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, etc.) and the Bon Vivants (Trick Dog) are behind this Basque/Spanish restaurant with chef Ryan Pollnow at the helm (formerly at Central Kitchen). Pollnow combines his favorite regional dishes from Spain and Basque Country travels with California ingredients and ethos, so you'll see the likes of salsa verde and avocado with octopus. One of the best initial dishes (pictured top) is one of two larger plates ($24-25 each): morcilla (that's blood sausage to you) and chickpeas, hearty with fall-apart pork cheek, carrots, pine nuts and raisins.
The Bon Vivants' aperitivos ($10) and cocktails ($12 or a $43 carafe for four) do not disappoint, showcasing sherry but also sporting a fantastic flavor-profile graph of gins from Aatxe's extensive collection with a range of tonics to pair with, in keeping with Spain's most popular drink, the G&T, all run by bar manager Tommy Quimby. Wine Directors Sam Bogue and Geno Tomko created a dynamic wine list focused solely on small Spanish producers plus a range of sherry and dry Basque ciders to boot.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-11 PM; Friday-Saturday, 5:30 PM-12 AM.
2170 Market St.; 415-471-2977