Alright – back to blogging like a big girl. You know, about things other than work. First up, a lovely review of Tertulia, an amazing Spanish restaurant in Manhattan.
First off, I have to say that a restaurant hasn’t made this good of an impression on me in a very long time. So be prepared for a pretty stellar review.
Let’s start from the beginning – with the reservations. Knowing I had a group of Londoners coming to visit, I called the restaurant two weeks before to make a group reservation for 6 people. They happily made the reservation and informed me that groups of 6 or more had to partake in the Chef’s Menu for $55 a person (excluding drinks, taxes, and tip). This sounded like a great and reasonably priced option and I happily obliged. The next week I found out we had to change the reservation to 7 people and while at first it seemed that we may have to cancel due to this small change and their available tables, the manager or whoever answered the phone pushed the reservation up a half an hour and made it work. So basically, even before I’ve shown up at the restaurant customer service has been stellar and I feel like they want to provide us with as good an experience as possible.
Arriving at the restaurant, our fantastic London visitors fell prey to commuter hell and found themselves to be a half hour late. At some places in NYC this can screw you out of your reservation but the staff at Tertulia were nothing but gracious and patient providing us with drinks at the bar and making sure we did not feel rushed at all. Once we were sat at our table, the server explained how this particular chef menu worked – the chef would select various items from the menu that night to serve to us and food would just continue to come out, until finished by a selection of desserts. The server took note of any food allergies to avoid any problems with the chef’s selections, ordered us a few pitchers of sangria, and then we were off! Ready and waiting for whatever food they decided to bring us.
And man, oh man, did they bring us food. The first round of food was a Spanish favorite of mine Pan con Tomate with Iberico ham. I had this exact same dish when I was in Madrid in March and have been dreaming of it ever since. Sufficed it to say, this version was definitely up to par, the only thing missing were the sounds of Spain and the outdoor patio. During this round we were also served the Tosta Mejillones – grilled mussels on toast with fennel jam, raisins, and aioli. This was by far one of my favorites of the evening. So unbelievably simple yet incredibly delicious. And quite honestly something I may not have thought to order but will now order every time I go to this restaurant, provided it’s on the menu of course.
After that more tapas continued to come to the table including the delicious Tupinambures – crispy smoked sunchokes with sumac and citrus yogurt, Coles de Bruselas – crispy brussels sprouts, pork belly, and mojo picon, Pimientos de Padron – classic fried Padron peppers with lots of sea salt. There was also an amazing lamb dish, a cod dish, a special sea bass dish, and a monster sized mouth watering paella with the most tender chicken I have ever tasted. All this food, was then followed by a sampling of desserts all of which were better than the next.
When all was said and done, after a plethora of food and quite a few pitchers of sangria, tip and tax, the bill came out to about $105 per person which for what we got was a great deal. I’ve paid that much in New York for much less food and drink and not even of this kind of quality. On top of that, the service was stellar from start to finish – from the minute I picked up the phone to the minute we left the restaurant. It was so good in fact that I might just make another large party reservation for my birthday in August.
That’s right, it’s THAT good.
All that being said, I do wonder if my experience would have been as good if my first time there had not been with a bigger group and the chef’s menu. While I’m well versed enough in Spanish cuisine, I am sure I would have ordered what was most familiar to me rather than take a chance on a few menu items that came out thanks to the chef’s choice that evening. So while I’d advise anyone and everyone to go to this restaurant, I can’t recommend the chef’s menu enough as I think it really made the experience for us that night and allowed us to get a full sense of what the chef could do and what the restaurant had to offer overall.
But it can’t all be good right? Well, actually it can. I really have no complaints beyond a few things that are impossible to fix in the reality of Manhattan dining. First off, the noise. It’s a loud restaurant. Be prepared to have to project in order to be heard, especially if you’re in a bigger group. Personally, I think noise levels like that are par for the course in New York at popular restaurants, but it really bothers other people, so it’s definitely something to consider if you’re planning a trip to this restaurant. The only other small thing I would ever change about this place would be more outside seating. Currently they have a small area in front of the restaurant for outside seating, but with the buzz and heavy traffic of sixth avenue, it’s not the best outside seating if you’re looking for leisurely dining al fresco. As the restaurant is really loud inside, having an outdoor space that’s a bit more serene in nature might help that a bit. Also, I selfishly prefer eating outside, especially when it involves sangria, and if this place had a backyard patio they would be seeing me every week. Not even kidding.
But let’s not pretend, they will definitely be seeing me again soon, perhaps even this weekend with the husband in tow for some tapas and cocktails to end a long work week.
So there you have it. Obviously, I highly recommend this restaurant to New Yorkers and tourists alike. It is a true New York restaurant offering a level of Spanish food one usually needs to travel to Spain to get. Service, food, and drinks alike – all top notch. Of course be warned, the wait is long, but I promise you it’s worth it.
359 Sixth Avenue at Washington Place
New York City
Closest Subway: W 4th Street A, C, D, E, F, M