Cooks & Soldiers draws its inspiration from the people and the cuisine of the Basque Country in Spain and France. The Spanish call it Pais Vasco; the Basque say Euskal Herria. Regardless of nomenclature, it stands for thousands of years of fierce independence, cultural autonomy, and unrivaled cuisine.
Pintxos are the Basque answer to tapas. From the word for “thorn,” a Pintxo is traditionally served on bread, pierced with a toothpick. Pintxo Bars represent the casual, convivial aspect of Basque dining, where guests order for the table over a glass of Txakoli (crisp, slightly bubbly Basque wine) or tart Basque cider. Pintxo Bars are loud, vibrant and celebrate the joy of companionship and conversation over the formality of coursed dining. Cooks & Soldiers seeks to recreate this environment with our Pintxos Tradicionales, served on toast, and our Pintxos Especiales, composed expressions from our chefs.
The Asador, on the other hand, is a wood-fired grill, elevating the simple yet divine combination of olive oil, salt, pepper, and smoke. At Cooks & Soldiers, our Asador is the centerpiece of our kitchen where whole meats and seafood are grilled over hot coals. These larger asador dishes are designed to be enjoyed communally, accompanied by a variety of fire roasted vegetable offerings.
The restaurant takes its name from the annual festival of Tamborrada in San Sebastian. Celebrating both its culinary and military history, the citizens of San Sebastian dress up as either Cooks or Soldiers and parade through the streets every January for a 24-hour, city-wide celebration. We hope to see you in soon to revel in the rich tradition of Euskal Herria that inspires us all.
Fêtes de Bayonne, “the big summer festival”, is a tradition that dates back to 1932 and was an idea hatched by the city’s rugby team. The team wanted to create a similar celebration in Bayonne to the San Fermin (running of the bulls) in Pamplona, Spain. Now the largest festival in France, the celebration boast spectacular musical and street performances, traditional dances, parades and nightly fireworks. The festival begins on the Wednesday before the first Sunday in August and last five days. To kick off the celebrations the King of Leon, presider of the festival, tosses the keys from the town hall balcony to the crowd massed below. From then, each day has a theme and momentum builds until Sunday, the grand finale of the celebration. Cooks & Soldiers pays respect to this tradition on the grand finale day with nods to the festival traditions (come dressed in red + white!), live entertainment and French specialties. We look forward to seeing you there!