With Coqueta and Donostia opening recently, it’s easy to forget about one of the City’s oldest Basque restaurant, Piperade. A perennial Top 100 restaurant, Piperade was opened more than a decade ago by Owner-Chef Gerald Hirigoyen and his wife Cameron. Hirigoyen previously cooked French bistro and some Basque food at Fringale before leaving as chef and deciding to concentrate on Basque food at Piperade in 2002.
Able to accommodate about 100 diners (including 15 in the heated patio), the restaurant remains pretty busy throughout the week on any given night.
The menu is quite extensive, separated into Ttipiak (appetizers), Haundiak (“larger” plates/entrée) and Euskaldunenak (nightly Basque specials). The menu has been updated over the years but many of the Basque classic dishes, such as the red bell pepper, Serrano ham and egg Piperade stew (which the restaurant is named after), are thankfully still available.
Thanks to the full bar, we started with a couple of really good cocktails: the sugar-rimmed Gascon (Cerbois Armagnac, St. Germain ElderFlower Liqueur, lemon juice) and the Badquerak (Templeton Rye, Patxaran, Castillan bitters):
From the Ttipiak part of the menu, we shared the Seasonal Mushroom Tartlet that was flavored with thyme and garlic. The kitchen kindly split the tart prior to serving, and half the tart was plenty for one person since it was decadently rich in taste:
Piperade has a great wine list, mostly Spanish. We chose the 2006 Arrels Clos Oblidat Sangre de Garnatxa, a wine made through a partnership between industry chefs/veterans Gerald Hirigoyen, Master Sommelier Emmanuel Kemiji, Laurent Manrique (formerly of Aqua, Compton Place and Fifth Floor) and Sylvain Portay (formerly Alain Duscasse Adour & Mix, Ritx Carlton SF). The Grenache paired with our dinner perfectly:
From the Euskaldunenak part of the menu, we chose the Black Cod “Porrusalda.” A porrusalda is a traditional potato and leek soup, but in this case was a delicious braise of leeks and potatoes topped with a perfectly cooked crispy-skinned black cod:
From the Haundiak section, we chose the New York Steak which was served with Romesco (red pepper and nut sauce). The large platter came with sautéed broccolini flavored with garlic and topped with melted Ossau-Iraty sheep milk cheese:
We ordered the steak super rare and it arrived perfectly cooked to our liking:
Hirigoyen started out as a pastry chef so we decided to share the Dark Chocolate Cake “Amatxi” topped with a Crème Fraîche sauce and drizzled with more chocolate. It was a decadently good way to end a meal:
It’s great to see that Piperade remains as popular as ever. Our only possible and minor complaint would be that it seemed that the wait-staff was short-handed, and our very amiable waitress seemed to be the only one taking care of the room. She was efficient enough to be able to handle the crowd, and we never really had to flag her down for anything. We did see Chef Hirigoyen come out of the kitchen often to make sure all of the diners were satisfied with their meals.
It should be noted that true to many fine dining restaurants in the Basque region, there are no tapas to be found here. Instead, Team Hirigoyen opened nearby Bocadillos Tapas+ Wine offering excellent pintxos, bocadillos (small sandwiches) and tapas platters.