So Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks with Onion Marmalade and Lentils is Basque? Because there's tuna in it and the Basque dish, Marmitako, is also based on tuna (bluefin tuna, by the way)? No. Mr. Hirigoyen's dish, which can be perfectly OK, is the typical French/Californian concoction with maybe a touch of Asian in it. Again: very fine, but Mr. Hirigoyen should avoid using the misleading word, "Basque", in the title. The Basque Country is about 85% on the Spanish side of the border, south of the Pyrenees and the Bidasoa river. While the "Spanish Basque" chefs have remained adamantly Basque, and have indeed "Basquified" to a large extent all of modern Spanish cookery, the "French Basque" chefs have let themselves, for many decades, become thoroughly "Frenchified", learning in French culinary schools and following the edicts of classic French cuisine. This becomes apparent in Mr. Hirigoyen's constant use of butter, not to mention many of his techniques.
One of the top two chefs now working in Iparralde (i.e. the French part of the Basque Country), Christian Parra of L'Auberge de la Galupe in Urt (the other is Firmin Arrambide, of Les Pyrénées in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port), once told the French magazine Gault-Millau: "You know why the Spanish Basque chefs are better and more creative than we are? Because we all have a well-worn copy of Escoffier's cook next to our kitchen, and the Spanish Basques haven't even heard of Escoffier."
Jokes aside, Parra and Arrambide are now the leaders because they have rejoined the overall Basque movement led by Juan Mari Arzak of Donostia (San Sebastián): a return to the Basque sources (and some important Spanish ones, like Jabugo ham and virgin olive oil) to start creating from them and not from Paris-inspired fashions, products and techniques.
I have the impression that Mr. Hirigoyen left the Basque Country before this movement took off on the French side of the border, before French Basque chefs became Basque again. His ignorance of southern (Spanish) Basque recipes and culinary traditions, which represent a large majority of the Basque cooking heritage, is rather amazing, as other reviewers have pointed out.
By the way, in case anyone's interested: I am a journalist, and occasionally a wine and food writer, based in Spain, but with extensive experience in France and the United States. So I think I know what I'm writing about in this case.