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.
Edible Jewelry for ‘Commitmentphobes’; Midtown East Welcomes AdourEast Village: TKettle owner Andy Pan is still waiting for his partner BBQ Chicken to open, but “it’s killing me softly,” he says.
[Eat for Victory/VV]
Little Italy: Send a mixed signal to your love this Valentine’s Day with a candy ring from Papabubble. [TONY]
Lower East Side: Tomorrow night at Suba is a pata negra feast, which includes dishes made with “Ossabaw Island hogs, the ‘long lost cousin of the Pata Negra’” paired with Spanish wines. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Midtown East: Initial reactions to Adour are already mostly positive, but no one else has noticed the specially reserved handbag seating, yet. [Eater]
Rockefeller Center: On Friday from 3:30 to 6 p.m., Morrell is hosting a tasting of La Caravelle Grand Cru to celebrate the Champagne’s ten-year anniversary. [Snack]
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.
In Other Magazines
‘Esquire’ to New York: Drop DeadAre you kidding us? Only a trio of New York spots made Esquire’s “best new restaurants” list. And while the places described all sound good, if the likes of Rialto in Cambridge have all but three New York restaurants beat, then Pace is the new Harvard. The fact is this list represents a kind of trans-Hudson affirmative action for the restaurant world. Food columnist John Mariani picks good restaurants located outside New York in place of the more deserving restaurants inside the city limits, such as Insieme, Sfoglia, Ssäm Bar, Suba, Hill Country, and many others. It’s not their fault that New York has more good places than the rest of the country put together!
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.
The Other Critics
Suba Called ‘Dazzling’; Shopsin’s Called…Shopsin’sSuba, Boqueria’s ambitious sister restaurant, gets two stars from Frank Bruni, who goes so far as to say “the best of the food here is distinctive and exciting. In a few instances it’s even dazzling.” Suba, underbuzzed and on a bad block, needed a big boost and got it. [NYT]
Randall Lane isn’t impressed with the East Village Yacht Club, or for that matter Smith and Mills. Two stars out of six, and it sounds like they were lucky to get that. [TONY]
Peter Meehan’s review of the new Shopsin’s begins with his best lede ever: “Tolstoy had it wrong about happy families, because there are none like the Shopsins.” The food, though beside the point, sounds about as good as before. [NYT]
Related: A Taste of Kenny Shopsin
The Other Critics
Mercat Is Loud, Rayuela Is Packed, and Chicken Competition Is Fierce in FlushingFrank 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
What to Eat Tonight
Suba’s Mariscos y Verduras Channel Spain, via Long Island and the
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
The Other Critics
Landmarc Steals More Stars; Mercat Earns First KudosFrank 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]
City Backs Down on Calorie-Info Law; Gordon Ramsay Accused of TV FakeryThe 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]
Modern Spanish Comes (Back) to New York
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]
In the Magazine
Nature Bursts From the Pages of This Week’s Issue
In this week’s issue, as befits spring, nature is bursting out of our food coverage. Snails and sea urchins take supporting roles in Adam Platt’s review of the highly rarefied Anthos; Gael Greene flutters into a restaurant called Tree; Rob and Robin talk tomatoes, spring almonds, and even more snails; and, in the spirit of growth, our food editors lay out two Short Lists of places where you can introduce young, growing gourmands to their future lifetime pursuit. Plus, four new restaurant bloom in the April sunshine, all in New York this week.
The Kingdom of Navarra Comes to the Borough of ManhattanThe Kingdom of Navarra, as it is fancifully called today, is an autonomous community which is technically a part of Spain and which produces some of the most admired Basque-influenced cookery in the world. We don’t see much of it here in New York, but that will change on Friday, when Navarra Gastronomic Week begins. Classic Navarran dishes like warm partridge and Jabugo ham salad, artichokes fried with tocino (bacon), stuffed piquillo peppers, and a number of Navarran wines and cheeses to go with them will be available at the following restaurants through February 4.