Another piece of the Cafe du Nord revamp puzzle has come into focus with the announcement of Aatxe, a new Basque/Spanish spot that will be opening by year's end in the street-facing space upstairs from the former club. Per a release today, Central Kitchen chef de cuisine Ryan Pollnow is heading up the project, which will "explore California cuisine influenced by the Basque tapas culture."
Also, the name, Aatxe, is pronounced kind of like a sneeze, emphasis on the second syllable: aah-CHAY. It means "young bull" and it's a figure in Basque mythology.
As we learned last month, the former downstairs music venue is becoming more of a restaurant/bar as well, from the Flour + Water and Trick Dog teams, but Aatxe is a separate project altogether. And, interestingly, as Inside Scoop notes, the Cafe du Nord space was once home to a Basque restaurant back in the 80s.
Pollnow interned early in his career in Spain at famed, Michelin two-star restaurant Mugaritz and he says he "quickly fell in love with the eating and drinking culture of [Spain's] casual tapas bars." Menu items will include traditional pintxos with house-cured chorizo and lomo; porcini mushrooms a la plancha with smoked egg yolk and winter squash; and squid ink fideos with caramelized onions, blood sausage, and squid.
Like the downstairs restaurant, Aatxe will also get a cocktail program from the Trick Dog boys inspired by Spanish flavors and sherry aperitivos. (Also, it will include that Spanish-by-way-of-England favorite, the gin and tonic, but on tap.)
Look for Aatxe to open in December, possibly ahead of the downstairs, revamped Cafe du Nord.
Aatxe - 2170 Market Street at Sanchez - See more on Facebook