Seamus Mullen is king when it comes to approachable Spanish cuisine in New York. When his downtown restaurant Tertulia first came on the scene last year, it was an immediate neighborhood favorite in a neighborhood (West Village) that’s highly competitive when it comes to food. Graced by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow – whose birthday was celebrated there last year with a guest list that included Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z – Tertulia somehow combines a snug Spanish taverna feel with a chic New York currency. A past finalist of Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef, as well as a featured judge on Chopped, Mullen himself has caught all our attentions, which is why he is this week’s Epicurean.
Describe your ideal food day…
My ideal food day has to start with great coffee. I fully admit to being a coffee addict; if I can’t have great coffee in the morning, it throws my whole day off. I love Brooklyn Roasting Company. They roast amazing coffee and make the best lattes – conveniently around the corner from my apartment. I also love the Hair Bender blend from Stumptown. My favorite breakfast is actually pretty simple, and high in protein and good fats to get my day going: scrambled eggs in grass-fed butter, with some chopped Don Bocarte anchovies for a savory kick.
For a mid-morning “elevenses,” I would magically transport myself to London and have a cheese and cured meats plate at Neal’s Yard Dairy followed by – you guessed it – another latte.
Lunch would be a proper meal of grilled perfection at Victor Arguinzoniz’s Asador Etxebarri in the Basque Country of Spain – truly the best meal cooked over live fire anywhere. It’s true product-based cooking.
For dinner, I would go to Tokyo and snag a seat at Sukiyabashi Jiro, of Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame. I love how beautifully simple and clean the sushi is and the reverence for tradition and detail is right up my alley.
For a late night snack, I’d wander into the markets and cooked food centers of Hong Kong for spicy fried pork belly. I had an amazing meal this past February at Tung Po in the Java Road Cooked Food Centre in North Point. The whole top floor is stall after stall of “restaurants” above the wet market, jam-packed with people sitting on plastic stools in these makeshift “dining rooms” serving some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever had.
I’m not much of one for sweets – except for chocolate. And ice cream. But for a special treat, I’d figure out some way to sneak in a trip to the original Ladurée in Paris for the best macaroons on the planet.
What’s your drink?
What would your last meal be?
Heirloom tomatoes with Cantabrian anchovies, fresh burrata, arbequina olive oil, fifty-year-old balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs. Santa Barbara sea urchin with toro tuna, finely minced and topped with Osetra caviar and fresh wasabi. White truffle risotto with a smoked egg yolk. A plate of forty-eight month aged Iberico ham from 5Js, a glass of Lopez de Heredia 2001 Rosé wine and a Romeo y Julieta Churchill Cuban cigar. A glass of fifty-year-old Macallan single malt Scotch aged in Sherry casks.
How do you start your day?
Bulletproof Executive Shake: coffee, grass-fed butter, MCT oil
Favorite place to travel for food?
What ingredient do you consider overrated?
Calcium Chloride and Sodium Alginate