Sam Sifton drops a deuce on Seamus Mullen's new white hot Greenwich Village Spanish restaurant Tertulia. After calling the atmosphere "'Game of Thrones' in J. Crew and Uniqlo," he writes that Mullen is cooking at the top of his game:
The service is not sublime. Someone may during the course of a meal accidentally spill a glass of wine down the front of your blouse, or disappear when you desire the bill. Reservations are taken only for parties of six or more, and the temperature in the dining room sometimes rises to the level of a stalled No. 6 train.He ends with a Kin Shop shout out: "...add to the ranks of Harold Dieterle's Thai-speaking Kin Shop another Manhattan amazement, another soldier in the army that marches against fake authenticity in the name of hard work and big flavors." [NYT]
But these occasional discomforts aside, Tertulia is still great fun: a casual Spanish gastropub that sees its roots in the cider bars of northern Spain, and its success in a cuisine that is equal parts pork and seafood, salt and olive oil, garlic and smoked paprika.
Steve Cuozzo revisits Lincoln and notes some improvements "Today, Lincoln is better, but much of the improvement is on the floor, where the once-awkward crew now delivers three-star service. I've had some three-star dishes, too, in the past two months. A few pasta dishes rival those at Marea. Vitello tonnato blew us away...Rich monkfish on the bone was attended by early autumn veggies worthy of ABC Kitchen." [NYP]
Jay Cheshes loves the classics but not the new dishes at Akhtar Nawab's new Williamsburg La Esquina: "Many old classics remain, simply tweaked, not reinvented. They're among the best stuff at the new restaurant, and the most recognizably Mexican...But while the multicultural notes Nawab adds elsewhere on the menu are tasty enough, they're an awkward fit for this classic cantina and the tequila-fueled party you'll find there most nights." [TONY]
Lauren Shockey finds some winning dishes at Maharlika, a pop-up brunch spot gone permanent: "Maharlika began as a brunch pop-up, so it's unsurprising that the midday meals shine compared with the evening offerings (which aren't bad, but occasionally display a certain amateurishness)...After the sun goes down, the menu veers a little more experimental, tottering into fusion terrain." [VV]
Adam Platt awards three stars to Seamus Mullen's Spanish newcomer Tertulia: "...the result is a rich, deceptively sophisticated menu which does for tapas-style Spanish cuisine what Batali did for Italian pastas and April Bloomfield did for English pub food. His cooking here is authentic in its essential Spanishness, but it's also brawny, seasonal, and deeply flavored in a nuevo rústico, distinctly New York kind of way." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Dave Cook files an Under on Neerob, a Bangladeshi restaurant in the Bronx, Tables for Two pigs out on beer and cheese at Earl's Cheese Pub, Robert Sietsema discovers some good fish tacos at Rosarito Fish Shack in Williamsburg, and Gael Greene also notes that Lincoln has much improved since its debut last fall.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives a B to Tertulia, Eat Big Apple is impressed with a revisit to Niko, Feisty Foodie has a fantastic lunch at Ai Fiori, Immaculate Infatuation notes that Jones Woods Foundry is a rare gem on the Upper East Side, NYC Food Guy loves the roast beef sandwich at Defontes, and Eating in Translation liked his sandwich from Heritage Meat Shop okay but wishes it wasn't pre-wrapped.