Really, the only problem with Txori, a new tapas bar in downtown Seattle, is that the floor is too clean.
Txori serves Basque-style tapas called pintxos, one or two bites of something salty and oily atop a piece of toast. "Pintxo" means "pick," and many items are held together with a toothpick.
While enjoying the chorizo with shaved dark chocolate, I noticed a metal device on my table. It looked like a napkin dispenser from a diner, but it dispensed flimsy blue-and-white tissue paper. My waitress explained that it’s customary to wipe your hands on these little rags between pintxos and toss them on the floor.
Nobody else was doing it, so I didn't either. Instead, I ordered more pintxos. Piquillo pepper wrapped around a spoonful of salt cod brandade. Rich braised oxtail with potatoes (this one was good for several bites). Duck confit salad with orange, served on a Japanese soup spoon (don't try to share this, but do order several). Each pintxo has as few as three ingredients, so they'd better be of high quality. They are—and yet none of them are priced above $6.
To drink, there are house cocktails, a concise list of Spanish wines, and a selection of "bebidas vascas"—Basque drinks. The key to a Basque drink, it seems, is combining an adult beverage with a soft drink. The Kalimotxo, for example, is red wine with Coke. (Someone was drinking it at the next table; she said it tasted like sangria.)
On the way out, I chatted with Carolin Messier de Jiménez, pastry chef and co-owner of Txori with her husband, the mustachioed chef Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez. (They also run The Harvest Vine: a perennial on everyone's Seattle ten-best list.) She pointed to a pile of discarded hand wipes on the floor by the stand-up bar. You can tell a good pintxos bar by its dirty floor, she said. So by all means, stop by Txori and make a mess; you have the owner's blessing.
2207 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121