Tertulia, chef Seamus Mullen's return to the stoves after his departure from tapas group Boqueria, opened to the public just last Monday, but a week is ample time for the food hordes to weigh in. The 6th Avenue restaurant is inspired by the cider houses of the Asturias region of Spain and offers both tapas and larger plates like roasted suckling pig and prime rib. And so far, the people dig it. In fact they dig it so much, some worry it will be impossible to get into once everyone's back in town next month. So check it out while the resys aren't too hard to come by.
The Good News: An Eater commenter checks it out on opening night: "Went tonight. Place reminds me of the tapas bars at San Sebastian, Spain. Chefs Anita Lo and Andrew Carmellini among the diners tonight. Good food: especially liked the tosta matrimonio (a wonderful combination of black and white anchovies on toast with slow roasted tomato, sheep's milk cheese, and aged balsamic vinegar), albondigas de cordero (perfectly cooked lamb meatballs served in a spicy red sauce with queso fresco and cucumber), and the paz espada a la plancha (the swordfish was a bit overcooked, but the flavors were spot-on, and the squash lightened the dish considerably). Some interesting wines on the list (Vega Sicilia Unica 1999 was way overpriced). Service was adequate if a bit spotty and slow. Some real hot male FOH staff. Chef Mullen was busy at the open kitchen, but was gracious enough to spare a minute and talk to me after dinner. Decent food: a nice place to unwind after a busy day at work." [Eater Comments]
The Mostly Good News: Yelpers so far are posting positive reviews, including this one: "Started with the jamon Iberico, which was sliced thicker than at Boqueria, but was just as good. The tosta matrimonio was very good, anchovies with tomato, sheep's milk cheese on a bread. I thought the anchovies would be sour but they were not and I enjoyed this dish. The Nuestra tortilla Espanola came with egg, potato, onion, and olive oil. It was very good. The mejillones was a dish of spicy mussels, bacon, and guindilla pepper. The mussels were cleaned perfectly and the bacon added a nice salty taste to the dish. The pulpo was great, grilled perfectly on the outside and tender on the inside without being too chewy. The croquetas de jamon were good but I wish there was more jamon in them. The albondigas were soft and the meat was mixed well. It was hard to tell that they were lamb...Dinner was great but dessert was not that great. Go for the food and try a different place for dessert." [Yelp]
The Rave: Menupages has this rave: "This place is awesome, just opened. I loved the food and there is a great wood burning oven. One of my favorites was the swordfish, really light. Surprisingly a lot of the food was a lot lighter than I thought it would be but still very tasty. The portion sizes were not huge, but definitely not small, actually the perfect size for sharing with friends so you can try a few things. Definitely a great place for a chill dinner out with friends." [Menupages]
More Great News: All of the Foursquare tips so far are positive, including "This place is new, but it is fucking seriously amazing. Caballa y fabes. Tostada matrimonio. Croquetas. I will hunt you down," from Brian B. and "split the amazing paella btwn at least 2 people" from Lolo S. [Foursquare]
The Good But Soon to be Packed News: A Mouthfuls commenter loved Tertulia and is worried it will be impossible to get into come September: "Tertulia is a pretty solid hit. It's probably the closest New York has come to an actual Spanish taparia...They get the sizes roughly right -- items aren't huge the way they are most New York places -- but they mess up portioning in another way. Everything comes in twos, so even though the individual tapas and tostas make sense as portions for one person, you can't order only one of them. The "family plates" are huge.
I like the food here much more than at Chef Mullen's prior ventures...Dishes have tweaks that make them interesting, but they're recognizably Spanish. And based on opening night performance, execution is really fine...I enjoyed Tertulia a lot. I have a feeling that, come September, it will be impossible to get into, so I might not be able to make it a regular hangout till winter. I have no doubt it'll be around for a while." [Mouthfuls]
The Needs More Time News: Gael Greene tweets: "Watching Seamus Mullen manning the oven at Tertulia lasngt. Happy he's back.Loved some tastes. Too early. Kitchen needs more warmup." [Twitter]
· All Coverage of Tertulia [~ENY~]