Santina and High Street on Hudson

May 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

From a while back: dinner at Santina, right next to the Whitney Museum and the High Line, with Cahill folks and then two separate visits to hit bakery/restaurant High Street on Hudson for dinner and breakfast. Completely different restaurants but great experiences at both (Santina was surprising since I think the Torrisi restaurants tend to be over-priced and too hip for me and generally avoid them).

At Santina, we sat in the atrium outside under heat lamps, which was actually nice and almost felt as if we were outside in the middle of winter. We started with squash carpaccio with honey agrodolce – my favorite dish of the nice and completely new. The squash was thinly sliced and tasted almost as if it was bruleed, a wonderful mix of textures and savory against sweet.

Cecina pancakes with lamb tartare, green olive and aioli.

Family-style mains – rice of guanciale e pepe, spaghetti with blue crab with tomato and chili, lobster catalan with garlic and anchovy butter, grilled lamb chops, spicy fried potatoes. The rice was underwhelming and didn’t pack as much flavor as one would hope but the spaghetti stood out with its bright and briny notes. In the end, I was happy to try Santina but don’t think I would ever choose to go again given all the great restaurants constantly popping up in the neighborhood (as well as all of my time-tested favorites).

Turning to a totally different restaurant – High Street on Hudson. The original location is in Philly and ever since the owners announced that they were opening a NYC version, it’s gotten a lot of press and well-deserved love. Artemis, Cindy and I went for dinner during the week not too long after they opened and it was packed. We started with an addictive dark bread called vollkornbrot with creamy charred rutabaga hummus and long hot chermoula and black sesame oil and perfect, crispy fried razor clams with habanero buttermilk, which made me wish for summer.

Next, another (and in my opinion, superior) lamb tartare with burnt celery root, sunflower, cultured cashew and malted rye and tripe diavola with sunchoke and grilled cucumber (kind of an oddly textured element that I wasn’t crazy for). Both absolutely gorgeous on the plate and wolfed down within seconds.

Highlights of the meal were the main courses of seawood bucatini with njuda, lobster bottarga and breadcrumbs and Happy Valley beef with sweet potato and fermented broccoli. Stellar examples of dishes from the earth and sea…I was in such a happy place by the time our dinner came to a close.

And for good measure, Cindy and I went back to High Street not long after for breakfast to try their super-hyped sandwiches and they did not disappoint. We got the bread basket (so ambitious), the bodega sandwich of malted breakfast sausage, egg and aged cheddar on a giant sage-black pepper biscuit about the size of my head and old bay fried potatoes that I kept popping into my mouth even after I felt completely stuffed. I don’t think I ate another meal for the rest of the day but it was completely worth it.

Tertulia

March 29, 2012 § 4 Comments

Of all the places in the world, Spain is the country I want to visit most. Barcelona, San Sebastien, Valencia, Madrid – they all sound like food-lovers’ paradises to me, with their beautiful and vibrant markets, fresh seafood, and ubiquitous tapas bars and cider joints. Tertulia is a place I’ve been wanting to visit for a while now. The chef, Seamus Mullen, has gotten great reviews from the New York Times and NYMag, and looking at the menu, I like that he sticks with traditional Spanish fare and does it very well instead of trying to twist it into something super modern. Another testament to the food? The fact that other chefs – like Mario Batali’s Iron Chef America sous chef, Anne Burrell (peeking at the camera in the first photo) – enjoy dining there on their off time. By the way, I was taking a picture of the interior and totally not being a creepster.

In an effort to eat (a lot) more vegetables lately, Laura and I started with the pimientos de padron – fried Shishito peppers with lots of sea salt – and the nuestras patatas – crispy potatoes with pimenton de la Vera and garlic all i oli. Holy crap, both of these dishes were so effing good. I would have been satisfied with these alone. The peppers were blistered and slightly sweet, and they had the crispness of a perfectly blanched green bean. Of course, tossing them in sea salt added exponentially to their flavor. Out of about 16 on our plate, I managed to get the only spicy one.

As for the spuds, I couldn’t figure out if they were fried or roasted, because these potatoes were expertly seasoned, super crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside without any grease, and the all i oli was out of this world – garlicky and rich. Laura and I scraped up  every last drop.

Our favorite dish by far, however, were the croquettes de jamon. Chef Mullen mixes scraps of prized jamon Iberico into his creamy bechamel and then quickly drops them in oil to give these babies the texture of fried soup, velvety and lovely on the inside. To make them even better, they come served with membrillo sauce, made of the quince fruit, and the sauce’s tartness cuts the luxuriousness of the croquette.

Our final dish were the crispy brussel sprouts with pork belly and mojo picon, a Spanish red pepper sauce. Our one, very small, gripe with this was the almost excessive use of vinegar which had us occasionally puckering our lips, but this was still an excellent take on sprouts, and I would still order it again.

So there you have it – a Spanish gem in the Washington Square Park area. It’s good that I don’t live in the neighborhood (yet), because I’d come here all the time, especially after a long day at work when I need a good glass of wine and some soul-warming food. Next time I visit, I plan on just ordering the classics – unadulterated jamon Iberico, boquerones, and pan con tomate – but this was a great vegetable-oriented introduction to Tertulia and fueled us for an entire afternoon’s worth of shopping in downtown Manhattan.

Tertulia
359 6th Avenue
New York, NY
646.559.9909

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