The standout among the cold tapas is the ensalada de pulpo, a small mound of chopped tomato and octopus in a bracingly tart, citrusy marinade. There is hummus, flavored with red pepper and artichoke but still, you know, hummus. Hummus might be a few hundred miles outside authentic tapas territory, but if I had it to do all over again, I'd order a big bowlful of hummus and steer clear of Café Pintxos' charcuterie and cheese board. This looked to have been cobbled together from a grocery store's deli case: paper-thin slices of ham, salami and Spanish-style chorizo, none of it distinctive, all of it tasting faintly of refrigeration. The cheeses included chunks of Manchego, crumbled Cabrales and, curiously, slices of port-wine cheese.

During my pintxos-free Saturday dinner visit, I discovered that nearly a third of the restaurant's seventeen dishes had been nixed owing to a missed shipment — everything from marinated olives to tortilla española (an omelet), from "angoradomatasalata" (an unfamiliar and Google-unfriendly term for a salad of cucumber, tomato, herbs and feta) to gambas con gabardina pintxo (saffron-poached shrimp with a spicy sauce).

As I said, you might explain away such a situation by thinking of Café Pintxos as a bar, not a restaurant, casual to a fault. Except it's clear from the planning that went into the design and the menu that this is intended to be a restaurant. All it needs is a kitchen of its own.

Ajo Asado - warm roasted garlic with house made balsamic jam, cabrales Spanish blue cheese, crostini and lavash.
JENNIFER SILVERBERG
Ajo Asado - warm roasted garlic with house made balsamic jam, cabrales Spanish blue cheese, crostini and lavash.
The spare, modern interior of Café Pintxos is a continuum of the aesthetic of Hotel Ignacio, where the restaurant is housed.
JENNIFER SILVERBERG
The spare, modern interior of Café Pintxos is a continuum of the aesthetic of Hotel Ignacio, where the restaurant is housed.

Location Info

Map

Cafe Pintxos

3407 Olive St.
St. Louis, MO 63101

Category: Restaurant > Breakfast

Region: St. Louis - Downtown

Details

Café Pintxos
Ajo asado...$8
Albóndigas...$9
Ensalada de pulpo...$12
3407 Olive Street; 314-338-2500.
Hours: Breakfast 7-11 a.m. daily. Dinner 4-11 p.m. daily.

And some pintxos.

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