Boise has a large thriving Basque community. The heart of this community is known as the “Basque Block.” This historical section of downtown Boise also includes the Basque Museum, located in a renovated former Basque boarding house, the Basque Market, and Leku Ona, a Basque restaurant and hotel which is a relative newcomer to this revitalized neighborhood.
For the past three decades, Bar Gernika has been one of the anchors of the Basque Block. Both a tavern and restaurant, Bar Gernika features craft brews from local microbreweries as well as Basque dishes, sandwiches and appetizers including solomo, and chorizo sandwiches, lamb stew, and paella.
Saturday is special at Bar Gernika. Beef tongue is served all day or until they run out. The Beef tongue is luxuriously tender and is bathed in a peppery tomato sauce which is loaded with garlic. Crusty sliced bread generously infused with garlic cloves is served on the side. If you decide to complete your meal with an appetizer, the croquetas are an excellent choice: a toasty exterior encloses a rich and creamy interior of milk, butter, and chicken.
After this amazing meal I was almost inclined to head outside and join the colorful Oinkari Basque dancers who were celebrating the annual San Inazio Festival. However, enjoying the food and atmosphere is always a cause for celebration at Bar Gernika any time of year.