Back-to-Back Feasts Will Break the Bank, Blow Your MindAre 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.
Coming Soon: Boqueria, Part DosIf 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.)
Mixology Immortals Met at Last Night’s Astor Center Opening
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.
The Annotated Dish
Suba’s Spanish LambapaloozaSpanish 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.
Colicchio, Samuelsson, Hall, Others Shine at Taste of New York
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.
Virginia Pig Farmer Is the Toast of the New York Pork WorldIt 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.
In the Magazine
The Center Cannot Hold, and Why Would You Want It To?
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.
Seamus Mullen Forced to Pull the NightshadesWe 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.