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1/2 For some unfounded reason, I thought this tapas place was some sort of frat haven. That didn't appear to be the case on my visit, which was reassuring. What was less than soothing were the seating arrangements. I have my own personal issues with stools. I think I must just be graceless because I find it unreasonably awkward to climb up and perch properly without feeling off kilter and exposed. Lord help me on my Barcelona trip in August. Maybe I should practice my mount and dismount in the next month.

These weren't normal stools at the bar (that set up did exist), but rather stools positioned around a too low, too small wooden barrel. More than two plates and glasses caused a problem and bending towards the food felt unnatural. And the food itself was a touch unnatural, or at least unorthodox.

Instead of the usual aioli topped patatas bravas, these potatoes were simply drizzed in Tabasco sauce. And I swear the cheese plate contained slices of mozzarella. I wasn't aware of any similar fresh Spanish cheeses. The simple long thin spicy chorizo was satisfying, as was the square, pan-baked bacalao empanada. The menu is fairly large, so it's fair to guess that there are lots of hits and misses.

Xunta struck me as half-decent, half-weird. It's definitely not a first choice tapas bar, but it would suffice if you were in the neighborhood and felt too lazy to venture beyond the East Village.

Xunta * 174 First Ave., New York, NY

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