Last night, I had the ultimate pleasure of dining out at Seamus Mullen’s West Village restaurant, Tertulia. Chef Mullen is known for his expertise in Spanish cuisine. He can frequently be seen on Chopped and was a finalist on the Next Iron Chef. Regarding his new restaurant, New York Magazine has said, “At 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.”
The atmosphere is so rustic and warm and definitely makes you feel you are being transported out of New York City and into a cozy pub in the Asturias region of Spain. Exposed brick is everywhere and at the end of the bar, there is a man continuously slicing perfectly thin portions of Iberico ham to be delivered throughout the restaurant.
We were a party of seven and were seated at the table in the back of the restaurant near the open kitchen where I had an unobstructed view of the gorgeous wood-burning oven. From the minute we sat down, the smell of the food emanating from the kitchen was hypnotic! We could not wait to taste everything. And taste everything we did!
Our menu, selected by Chef Mullen, was served family-style, in four courses. The first question we were asked when we made the reservation and again when we sat down was whether anyone had any dietary restrictions or food allergies. There were a few at the table and they accommodated us so well throughout the meal. The food was mind-blowing. Every plate put in front of us was devoured from the Iberico ham, potatoes with all i oli, crispy brussel sprouts, kale salad with soft boiled eggs, grilled octopus, lamb and paella, to name a few. I highly recommend you dine at Tertulia.
Chef Mullen is gifted in the art of cooking and is critically acclaimed. However, there is more to the story. He is also a true example of how one can triumph over adversity and use food as a means of healing. In 2007, while he was becoming a rising star in the culinary field, he became very ill and was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. At that time, he was unsure he would be able to continue to work as a chef.
He has since gotten on the path to healing and has written an amazing book, called Hero Food, which pays tribute to and highlights recipes using 18 foods he believes aid him in managing RA. The list includes olive oil, dried beans, almonds, anchovies, grains, parsley, berries in addition to others. In the book, Chef Mullen says, “I do not believe that what we eat can cure illness, but I do believe that eating well and mindfully can improve our well-being.” I agree whole-heartedly!
I recently met Chef Mullen while volunteering at an event in the Culinary Management program and had the pleasure of introducing him on stage at the American Express Travel Show. It is also a funny coincidence that he has known my sister for years. As such, I was able to chat with him a bit while we were at the restaurant last night and he very generously signed a copy of his book for me to give away to one of you along with a Hero Food reusable bag.
So, here’s what I would like you to do. Please comment on this post and tell me about any foods that are Heroes to you. Those you feel improve your sense of well-being. In two weeks, on November 7th, I will put all of the names of those who comment into a computerized list randomizer and select one winner to receive the signed copy of Hero Food. You will love it, just like I do! Good luck and Happy Dining!
UPDATE: As of 11/7 @ approx 9:30 p.m., the winner for the book giveaway was chosen by the list randomizer at http://www.random.org/lists/ . Congratulations Monica D!
All photos courtesy of Tertulia’s Website because, let’s face it, their photographer is better than me! This post was written by me and is an honest representation of my experiences and opinions. I do not receive fees to advertise anything on my site.