Most people think of Basque cuisine as a freeform party, every fork vying for the same plate of serrano and Manchego, sweating glasses of sangría constantly being refilled, cost be damned. Owner Franco Gianni (Tank Sushi, Wood) and Ashlee Aubin (Alinea) have higher ambitions for Salero.

The arresting space, fortified with bull horns and a wall of candles, is plenty of fun. But watch people attempting to share: It doesn’t work, partly because no one wants to forfeit a bite and mostly because Aubin’s intricate modern compositions make doing so impossible. Just try splitting up the wonderful grilled octopus on cabeza croquetas with pimenton aïoli, green olive and caper salsa, and bitter greens. Can’t be done—nor should it.

ORDER THIS: Spanish mackerel ($12), grilled strip steak ($31), flan de queso fresco ($10)