Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tertulia the Gathering Place in NYC

Christmas Spirit at Tertulia
My buddy Tariq and I both love Spanish food especially Tapas. So when researching where the best tapas were served in NYC I kept on coming up with Chef Seamus Mullen's restaurant Tertulia. Located in the West Village Tertulia's look and feel is very
similar to many of the restaurants in that area.  When walking in, the bar is on the left near the front of the door and as you get by the folks either drinking or waiting for a table the restaurant opens up to 20 tables.  The kitchen open in the back so you get to see the food being prepared.  The best word to describe Tertulia is cozy.  I spent two weeks in Spain last year and got to really understand some of the great Spanish dishes that are served Tapas style.  At Tertulia there are a few menu items that have been taken from Southern Spain and transformed to more articulate dishes with flavor refinements, featuring ingredients and spices from Morocco.
Potata Bravas
Great Ale Cocktail
Tertulia has some great drink items one that I liked was ale cocktail with some bitters, lime and sharp sweet spices.  We started off with their version of Potatoes Brava, Nuestras Potatas which were more crisply deep fried potatoes and covered with a Pimenton Garlic Aioli.  We both liked the crispiness of the Potatoes and the Aioli provided some heat with bite from the garlic.  We also ordered the Coles de Bruselas, fried Brussels Sprouts with Sobrassada and Pork Belly bits with sheep's milk yogurt.  Over the last 2 years I have had many Brussels Sprout dishes the big differentiator was the fat from pork belly and the spice from the Sobrassada with a cooling effect from the yogurt.  One dish that can never be overdone because they consitently provide a good taste are the Pimentos de Padron.  Padron or Shishito peppers with just the right amount of sea salt.  These were cooked perfectly and seasoned with flaked sea salt that added a great salty crunch.
Moving on our final 2 dishes were both amazing, the Cordero al la Brasa, Grilled Lamb Belly with with marinated Eggplant and Garlic Labne.  I love any meat belly and the lamb belly was delicious with great fat to meat ratio that is savory, the eggplant provided a bite and was so good we wished we had more.
Simple Perfection
Lamb Belly
Finally one of the most simple but tasty dishes was the Broccoli.  Many of us growing up hated 3 things Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower and Broccoli.  Tonight we had 2 out of the 3 and the Broccoli dish although very simple looked fantastic.  It is simply a large Broccoli Floret with Lamb Bacon bits covered in a egg white that has been poached in olive oil to make it fluffy like a donut and savory like a fried egg.  It was topped off with some Manchego Cheese to give it a little bit of a creamy bite.
Tertulia is definitely on my list for great tapas in a cozy environment.  They provide a different style of food that is enhanced by Chef Mullen.