Are you enough of a hard-core gastronome to attend Chris Cosentino’s and Seamus Mullen’s back-to-back event dinners? Cosentinois the famous West Coast offal master whom you may remember from his appearances on Iron Chef. Cosentino is doing a signature “Head to Tail” dinner at the Astor Center on Tuesday, March 4, hosted by Michael Ruhlman. Expect lots of tripe, testa, candied cockscombs, and the like. That one will set you back $250. On March 5, Seamus Mullen is doing a Basque “Homage to Euskadi” dinner at Suba, featuring regional specialties like hake tongues; tortilla de bacalao with poached hen’s egg; salt-cod brandade, pimientos de padron; beans and pork belly; and so on, all paired with big Basque wines. That one is $110 and should be a little easier on the old G.I. system as well. But what other city could produce two such feasts back to back? To reserve for the Cosentino dinner, click here; for the Suba dinner, call 212-982-5714.
If you’ve ever had the experience of squeezing past the Scylla and Charybdis of Boqueria’s tightly packed models and hams, you’ve probably wished the place were a little bigger. Owner Yann de Rochefort is now in talks to find a space for a bigger downtown Boqueria. And the leading candidate? None other than 10 Downing Street. That is to say, 10 Downing Street south, the southern of two storefronts in the building across from Da Silvano — as opposed to the other 10 Downing, north, the almost-home of Scott Bryan’s 10 Downing and now said to be the future kitchen of “Desperate Chef” Jason Neroni. (To add to the confusion, 10 Downing is also the name as well as the partial address of the latter restaurant.)
Last night’s opening bash at the Astor Center was an amazing event – there was ibérico ham, hip-hop violinists, and Joey Campanaro, Josh DeChellis, and Seamus Mullen cooking hors d’oeuvres. But what people will remember will be the mixologists. A veritable cocktail hall of fame was present, and we managed to get them all together at once for an image that makes us thirsty just looking at it.
Spanish fine dining has been a hard sell in New York, but insofar as anyone has been able to make a go of it, it’s Seamus Mullen. Suba, Mullen’s chicly dungeon-like space on the Lower East Side, produces some of the city’s most intense and inventive Spanish-inspired food, and the Silla de Cordero, or saddle of lamb, is a perfect example. Three separate parts constitute the saddle, and Mullen puts them all together on plate, a tribute to the Spanish love of lamb: “the whole dish is about lamb, soup to nuts” he says, “lamb tenderloin, lamb belly, lamb loin, sheep’s milk cheese, sheep’s milk yogurt, and a nice lamby vinaigrette. We love it.” As always, mouse over the different parts of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
Though the event did not run late, the food at last night’s Taste of New York was beyond reproach: Suba’s Seamus Mullen produced some ridiculously rich and crispy oxtail croquettes, and the Ciao Bella guys served a Turkish yogurt gelato that stopped visitors in their tracks. Hill Country’s beef riblets were one of the hits of the show, requested by other chefs even as they labored behind their own tables. Meanwhile, Jim Meehan of PDT was setting out the apple cocktails that seemed to be in everybody’s hands.
It sounds like a fairy tale: Some Spanish hogs, brought over by Spanish colonists in the sixteenth century, take over an island off the coast of Georgia and run wild there for hundreds of years. Feral and boarlike, they are also about the best tasting pork imaginable, and cousins to the world’s most celebrated ham. Is it a fable, conjured by the heated imagination of foodies? Or an eye-opening truth, as irrefutable as a piece of gamey and rich roast pork? We’re happy to say that it’s the latter. Bev Eggleston, of Eco-Friendly Foods in Virginia, has started selling his amazing pork to a handful of New York restaurants, and soon he may be giving the Spanish a run for their money in the ham business.
This week brings together some disparate threads of the great suffocating quilt that is the New York food world. Modern Spanish and Latin food have almost nothing in common, other than, in the form of Suba and Rayuela, getting one star each from Adam Platt. Uptown Gael Greene rocks out Southern Hospitality. Downtown, Rob and Robin find a chef that knows all there is to know about the frying game and discover what’s happened to restaurant matchbooks in these days of the smoking ban. Plus, Kirby cucumbers are in season this week.
We were happy for Seamus Mullen, the Boqueria and Suba chef who was nearly crippled a few months ago by an acute attack of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic joint disease. Mullen got some good news in this week’s Times review and is looking forward to seeing what Adam Platt has to say when his turn comes round. On the other hand, Mullen tells us that his diet is now permanently screwed up: He can’t eat tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, or any other member of the nightshade family — “which sucks, because all that stuff is in season right now and really beautiful,” he says. For the sake of his aching joints, the chef is also required to eat lots of oily fish. Luckily he has the cooking skills to make this blow bearable.
East Village: All falafel at Chickpea is now baked, not fried. Is this the first move toward franchise status? [Eater]
Financial District: Celebrate Bastille Day this Saturday at the Les Halles Waiter’s Race on John Street at 2 p.m. [Les Halles]
Flatiron: Madison Square Park Conservancy hosts its other annual food extravaganza next Tuesday with bites from the nabe’s chefs including Seamus Mullen, Patricia Yeo, Daniel Humm, and Floyd Cardoz, plus Brooklyn Brewery suds, wine and Champagne. [Madison Square Park]
Flushing: The celebrated Chinese “food court” at J&L Mall, has been closed, and Con Ed, not the Department of Health, is the culprit. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Park Slope: Newly opened American restaurant Sidecar is BYO for now. [NYS]
Prospect Heights: Seasoning does not a good cheesesteak make; High Stakes on Flatbush would do better to call its signature item a sandwich. [Daily Heights]
Upper East Side: Stefani Jackenthal hosts a tasting of Pinot varieties at the 92nd Street Y tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. [92nd Street Y]
Upper West Side: Lincoln Center’s Summer Benefit starts at 6:30 p.m. tonight, but by 9 p.m. you can start sampling from restaurants including Anthos, Chanterelle, and Yolato at Damrosch Park. [NYS]
Frank Bruni thinks Mercat’s tapas are good, as long as you steer clear of the seafood and don’t mind salt, but he’s a sourpuss when it comes to the atmosphere. “Some wonderful food, some clangorous acoustics: these are the defining traits.” Something to do with the glass of wine that was spilled on his vestments? [NYT]
Bruni may have been better off dining at Mercat’s bar, where Randall Lane dug the “lively scene.” He also liked what he ate — not exactly the case at Seamus Mullen’s relaunch of Suba. [TONY]
Ryan Sutton stalks chef Riccardo Buitoni at his new Soho spot Aurora and after spying him sipping wine declares him a “master of chill” — and apparently a fan of truffles. Meanwhile he finds Rayuela packed during an early visit and predicts it could be a “serious cocktail destination” with some tweaks. [Bloomberg]
Related: Rayuela Mixologist Junior Merino to Uncork His Latino Cocktail Program on Friday
Seamus Mullen’s health troubles have gotten a lot of press lately, but his cooking at Suba, his newly opened “modern Spanish” restaurant on Ludlow Street, hasn’t gotten nearly enough. Tonight, for example, Mullen is serving mariscos y verduras (shellfish and green vegetables), an updated Basque summer standard. “With the weather in the nineties, I wanted to do something that was fresh and light, but that also had a very, very deep flavor,” Mullen says. “I like this, too, because basically everything in it is in season and locally sourced, but it’s totally true to Spanish cooking – except for the Meyer-lemon vinaigrette. But that goes so well with it.” A diver scallop, some littleneck clams, rock shrimp, and cockles are steamed in Txakoli wine, and the resulting liquid is mixed with a broth of fish stock and fresh herbs, and used to quickly cook sugar snap peas, snow peas, and cranberry beans. The dish is topped with some borage flowers and served as a first course for $15. Mullen suggests drinking the Txakoli, an effervescent spirit, with it.
Related: Suba’s Seamus Mullen Goes Through Something Even Worse Than an Opening
Frank Bruni inexplicably grants a star to a restaurant with zero ambience, overdone pastas, “tame entrées,” and a “loud” room that’s “dreary at night.” Which is what Adam Platt and everybody else said about Landmarc TWC, though without granting a star for the accomplishment. [NYT]
Related: Off the Mark [NYM]
Landmarc somehow coaxed three of six stars out of Randall Lane, despite comparable comments on uneven food and a room filled with rebars. The wine list seems to have been the saving grace. [TONY]
Mobbed Mercat gets the Paul Adams seal of approval, its first major positive review, which compares it favorably to Boqueria and praises it for special authenticity. Only the desserts are denied praise, and at that point in the review, it hardly matters. [NYS]
The city, stared down by the adamant opposition of big restaurant chains, has pushed back implementation of its calorie-info law for three months. [NYP]
The former manager of Dillons, the midtown restaurant to be “rescued” by Gordon Ramsay on his new show, is suing the chef, claiming the program was “a prime example of fake TV” with planted customers, rotten meat put out for dramatic effect, and worse. [NYP]
The city’s best hamburgers are all the product of one great butcher, Pat LaFrieda, whose custom grinds, though secret, are geared to each restaurant’s cooking methods. [Men’s Vogue]
Never you been to Daniel Boulud’s new restaurant in Forest Hills? That’s because there isn’t one. But Danny Brown’s db wine bar and restaurant sounds close enough to db bistro moderne that the great chef’s copyright is threatened. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Travelers at JFK airport won’t have to get by on chili dogs much longer – a Todd English eatery, a wine bar, an oyster bar, and more high-end venues are on the way. [NYP]
Seamus Mullen is more at home with the elevated cooking at Suba than the rustic style at Boqueria: “It was like getting back to basics that I never really had.” [Restaurant Girl]
Staffers at Charlie Palmer’s Kitchen 22 found out the place was closing yesterday via a cell-phone call telling them they were now out of a job. Nice. [NYP]
Katz’s may be threatened by condo development, but pastrami still has secure fortresses in the outer boroughs. [Gothamist]
Related: Mother of Mercy! Is This the End of Katz’s? [Grub Street]
Given how large Spain looms in modern cooking, it’s a wonder we don’t see more openings, or rather reopenings, like Suba, announced by Rob and Robin in this week’s issue. Recently, S. Pellegrino again pronounced El Bulli the best restaurant in the world, and the kind of food that chef Seamus Mullen is introducing on Suba’s ambitious new menu shows off that world-conquering energy. (Mullen, before opening Boqueria and Suba, worked in some of the best restaurants in Spain.) “We're trying for something a little more complex than we do at Boqueria,” he says. Modern Spanish food has been here before but never really took off. Suba may be the one to finally make it happen.
Restaurant Openings: FR.OG, Suba, Móle, and Paradou Marché. [NYM]
Almost since the day it opened, tapas restaurant Boqueria has had the beau monde flocking to its rather nondescript block on 19th Street. Young Spanish-trained chef Seamus Mullen’s star dish is his suckling pig, a crisp, irresistible brick of concentrated pork goodness. As ever, mouse over the arrows for details from the cook himself.