Basque restaurants in California, Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho offer communal eating and specialties like oxtail stew.
The communal tables at Portland’s Family Supper and San Francisco’s Piperade are hip but nothing new. Breaking bread with strangers is a tradition at Basque eateries in the West.
BASQUE HOTEL Fresno, Calif. The restaurant in this 103-year-old landmark seats up to 250 at long tables. Lamb chops with garlic are a favorite dish. (559) 233-2286.
EPI’S BASQUE RESTAURANT Meridian, Idaho. Sisters Gina Urquidi and Chris Ansotegui named their charming restaurant for their grandmother, who ran a Basque boardinghouse. (208) 884-0142.
J.T. BASQUE BAR & DINING ROOM Gardnerville, Nev. Savor lamb shoulder steak with garlic at this bustling spot many swear is the best. (775) 782-2074.
MARTIN HOTEL Winnemucca, Nev. Locals and visitors stop back often for sweetbreads with sage; pigs’ feet; and chorizo and hominy. (775) 623-3197.
OLD BASQUE INN Jordan Valley, Ore. A warm community spirit pervades this restaurant in a tiny town right on the Idaho border. Nearby, visit a 1915 pelota (handball) court built with hand-hewn stones. (541) 586-2800
SANTA FE HOTEL Reno. Near Harrah’s but a world away from Reno’s flash. Beef tongue (Saturdays only) and lamb shanks are standouts. (775) 323-1891.
STAR HOTEL Elko, Nev. Scott Ygoa bought this 95-year-old boardinghouse last year, and the seasoned steak, baked lamb, and sides are as pleasing as ever. (775) 738-9925.
Photography by Mitch Tobias 
This article was first published in March 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.