We did not go for the tasting menu but ordered from the carte ...
then the vegetable salad with seafood, then hake wrapped in iberico pork, and then wild rabbit, then some apple pie.
The hake was really extremely good; I assume some sous-vide ...
The wild rabbit was not good -- lievre a la royale but not lievre and the rabbit was dry (a sort of ballotine stuffed with foie).
Ordering the tasting menu is the right call at Martin B in my opinion ... by a long shot.
You get very nice sized portions on that tasting menu, hence you definitely have experienced the dish ... and the overall ceremony flows very nicely.
Further I just don't think that any of their mains are individually captivating enough to be worth 70+ euros.
That's true for most high-end places in the world unfortunately.
I seriously doubt that the hake was cooked sous-vide. It's not impossible but I would be quite surprised because that's not the way it's done all across northern Spain or in any resto worth its salt. Northern Spain has a long tradition of cooking hake that results in perfect doneness and great, juicy moisture.
And yes, I had the rabbit. I was using lievre with liberties to imply the a la royale.
Re dry, that's why the French use lievre in season. It's a bigger beast and slightly less prone to dry, even if many French lievre a l R from very good houses are a bit dry nonetheless ! Hence, more sauce please !!!
The most expensive meal of the trip and we enjoyed it less than Ibai or Extxebarri.
Indeed Martin B will be more expensive than Ibai and a bit more expensive (20%-ish) than Etxe on an apples-to-apples compare.
And I am of the same mind as you re the "enjoyment" ranking ... mainly because Martin B isn't how we eat nowadays for the most part.
But in fairness, these are completely different beasts for different purposes and hence in my mind, they don't compete against each other.
Ibai is a lunch place in a basement with no decor / design, so-so service by the cook's wife (yes, she's nice enough ... I'm just stating facts, not really complaining ... except when she sits down at a table of friends for 10+ minutes and you can't get her attention when your wine glass is empty ...) that serves very tasty, non-chef-y food.
Etxe is (for the most part) a lunch spot in the middle of the sticks that also buys very nice product and (for the most part) places it on a wood-fueled grill and cooks it with great skill and finesse. Easier said than done. The room and service is indeed quite appropriate and done with class.
Martin B is a full-blown, chef-driven gastronomic restaurant that offers an elegant dinner in a refined setting with superb, choreographed service.
If anything, Martin B competes with Akelare and MB is much better than Akelare ... although I'd go to Akelare for lunch before dinner because of the fantastic view ... but I'm not heading back to Akelare any time soon.
These are very different beasts ... but as I said and I repeat - I agree with your enjoyment ranking ... but it substantially depends on the people involved and the situation at hand.
This is the way I think about restos and why I usually don't answer these "Where should I eat in such-n-such-a-city ? " questions. (But if you need a lunch between the Vatican Museums and St Peters, you have go to Pizzarium ! )
For me, it is totally about who are you with, what's the occasion, what type of meal do you want, what price point, what service style, is it lunch or dinner and on and on and on ...
Not that I am into rankings but this restaurant was ranked #1 European restaurant by Opinionated About Dining in 2015.
Azurmendi is an excellent restaurant, full point. I have no further interest in ranking it but it ain't #1 in the world.
As you can tell from the preceding, I'm not into NONSENSICAL rankings along the lines of : Who's the best - Serena Williams or Alex Rodrigeuz or Tom Brady or LeBron James ?
Those who think that this is a question of great interest and that the answer can be better determined via methodology are either wildly confused or self-absorbed.
If you want to say "Here are a hundred good restaurants to consider if you like fine dining in Europe" then fine.
But in what ludicrous, Alice-in-Wonderland world does saying In de Wulf (which is shutting down shortly) and Quique DaCosta are better than Louis XV and l'Ambroisie which are better than Tickets and Pure C (which is excellent by the way and chef Syrco should be getting top billing even if he is leveraging Sergio's brand name ... note that they just re-did seaside space and re-opened it) which are better than Elkano HAVE ANY MEANING WHATSOEVER !
I'll answer my question.
In a world of simplistic, superficial fools who need numerical rankings to organize their life. It's the same sad people who think they know a little something and go around spouting which years in Burgundy (all of Burgundy, mind you ! or maybe the REAL sophisticated ones have a Cote de Beaune and a Cote de Nuits number) were the good ones and they have a number to sum up that year for you ... like 95 or 90 or 88 on a scale of 100. Frankly, this is helpful to me because whenever I hear someone say this sort of stuff with any seriousness I immediately know that they know NOTHING about which they are talking.
Once you move to restos 51-100, the OA list starts to become a total joke ! Numerous Paris restos listed are indeed MEDIOCRE fine dining places ! Numerous important restos are MIA !
Throughout the entire list, they simply don't know that Spain (ex-Basque, ex-Madrid, ex-SP) even exists ! Amazing !
It's a bunch of people all chasing each other's tail in cities they prefer to visit ... or cities that SP tells them to.
And no, no names will be forthcoming from Chambo. They can continue their own useless work on their own.
I'm done with this topic.