Ortzi at the Luma Hotel in Midtown is Chef Jose Garces’ sexy new spot where you can get a taste of Spain's Basque region. There are three dining options with a communal space up front, a slate gray bar in the center (perfect for cocktails or a glass of wine), and a formal dining area, compete with fireplace, in the back.
Start with tapas for sharing. Croquettes de Jamon are stuffed with Spanish ham and accompanied by pickled tomato and a smoky pimentón cream. Lamb loin brochettes, served on skewers, are wrapped with bacon and plunged into shot glasses filled with a silky eggplant puree and sherry jus. It’s one of the most interesting things I’ve tasted in a while, exhilerating and delicious. Pork and beef meatballs surround a perfectly prepared poached egg. Crack it open and use the toasts to sop up all the eggy goodness.
The tapas menu at Ortzi is quite extensive. Other standouts include tuna belly crudo with Arbequina olive oil and caviar; preserved Spanish cockles with potato purée, pine nuts and chorizo; and Spanish sardines with parsley marinade and pequillo peppers.
Larger plates include Spanish prawns with lemon, toasted garlic & chile, pork ribs in a black bean stew, as well as a seafood paella. The Polluelo, a crock pot filled with red chile-braised chicken on a bed of grits, quail egg and Swiss chard, offers a new adventure in every bite. You will also find diver scallops, a Wagyu sirloin steak and lamb loin with an anchovy emulsion on the menu.
Order a la carte or opt for the "Chef’s Choice" $75 prix-frixe menu (per person) that includes a four course traditional Basque tapas dinner. A special pre-theatre menu is also available.
Chef Garces has a winner on his hands with Ortzi!
Review By: Thomas Rafaek