When we were in Toronto this summer, we took the kids to this Spanish tapas place and the kids loved it, so when they heard that Brugge (one of their favorite Indy places) had opened a Spanish place right above Brugge, they were excited to try it. Txuleta serves pinxtos, not tapas, as well as “snacks,” some sharable tapas (they just list them as “for the table),” and then some full-sized dishes. So what’s the difference between pinxtos and tapas you ask? I didn’t really know myself, so I looked it up. Turns out pinxtos are items that are skewered on bread. So there you go.
Naturally we wanted to try lots of things, and it’s fairly easy to do here. For snacks, we had olives ($6), the brandada ($11) and the Serrano ham ($9). The olives and ham were the clear winners here. The olives had a great unique acidic kick—much sharper than many, and they went well with everything else. We are a family of olive lovers, and these will always be ordered. The Serrano ham was also quite delicious. We have had some bad luck with this at other places, but this is a good one. It’s supple and has lots of flavor. They served some nice bread slices with it as well as some almonds, various fruits and a bit of quince paste. Very tasty—and a really nice combo. Would love to see the cheese plate as well. Next time we may need a combo cheese/meat. The brandada was the only let down of the snacks. It’s meant to be salt cod mixed with potatoes—which it was, but it was pretty heavy on the potatoes it seemed—couldn’t really taste the cod that much. And I would have liked something to eat with it—bread or something to dip in there. It was an awkward thing to share with just a small bowl. Some of the toast that came with the Serrano would be ideal. Unfortunately the brandada came first before we had the bread that came with the ham.
The pinxtos were the star of the night though. We had several and they were all really good. I liked these the best because they were the most composed dishes and had great flavor combos. My favorite was probably the ribeye ($9). It had a chunk of ribeye on top of the bread, as well as a little ball of fried goat cheese, some fried chips, and an almond picada sauce. The sauce is made with almond and parsley—it looked like a chimichurri. It was very tasty.
My next favorite item was probably the polenta pinxtos ($5). This had a hunk of crispy polenta and another little ball of fried cheese. I really liked the marinated mushroom and tomato at the top of the stick as well. It was really tasty. I would easily get both again.
We also had the shrimp a la plancha pinxtos ($6) with creamed fennel and lemon confit. This one was good too, although I liked the other ones better. Hubby was a big fan though. The shrimp was cooked just right though and was nice and buttery and not rubbery. The creamed fennel was good and I like the idea of the lemon, although I could have used a bit more of the lemon flavor.
We also had the patatas bravas ($8) because my kids always want fried potatoes. These were the least exciting things of the evening I would say and most went uneaten. They were drizzled with a red salsa and aioli. They needed a little extra sauce, which they happily brought us. My son did order the kid’s hanger steak as well, and it was very good (and a great deal at $8). It was served with matchstick fries, which were better than the bravas, and which also come as a dish to share for $5. I would go in this direction if you want some fried potatoes with your meal.
Finally, we were intrigued to try the Basque burnt cheesecake ($8). It is a slice of cheesecake that quite literally seems to have the top and side charred. It was unique and pretty tasty. I liked that it wasn’t overly sweet. Again, it’s a unique flavor, but a good one overall.
They are also making their own ciders, which I didn’t try because I am generally not a huge fan. But you can also get the usual Brugge beers and wines, so everyone can be happy. You can (obviously) also now take kids up there. This is something totally new for Indy, and I am happy to see it. On the whole, the food is very, very good. I am excited to go back and try some more things, particularly more of the pinxtos. Let me know if you have been and have favorites.
Txuleta Basque Cider House
1011 East Westfield Blvd