Let’s be straight. Tertulia has gotten a lot of hype since opening last fall (you can refer to some of that hype here and here). So with all that good press, it wasn’t surprising JR and I quickly settled on eating there for her visit. It was really a no-brainer.
We got there early on a Sunday, around 6 pm, and still were both somewhat shocked to get a table right away. Oh, the things that shock you after dealing with the New York restaurant scene for awhile. Anyways, Tertulia has the whole, nice-but-casual atmosphere going for it, with brick walls and somewhat muted colors. We sat towards the back, which features a semi-open kitchen with a huge blackboard hanging up with the specials and wines - this gave it almost a market feel, though I can’t pin down exactly why.
Hungry, as always, but indecisive (also an always-thing) we ordered our food in waves. Here’s the rundown of what we got:
Pan Con Tomate: Toasted bread rubbed with tomato. There’s no reason with that description this should have been as good as it was. Seriously delicious.
Ensalada de Remolachas: Beet salad, cañarejal cheese, grapefruit, mustard greens and pistachio. Full disclosure, this was not the best beet salad I’ve ever had, but I’ve had A LOT of beet salads. I thought the cheese and pistachios gave it a nice twist, though JR did not share my feelings about the cheese. More for me.
Coles de Bruselas: Smoky, meaty, crispy, and yet somehow light, with brussels sprouts and pork belly. Tertulia chef, tell me your secrets. I want to make these at home.
Chipirones Rellenas: The menu says this is baby squid stuffed with black rice, Merguez sausage and roasted peppers. My mouth said it was risotto. Warm and rich, with the faint taste of squid, this was another favorite.
Mussels Special: Mussels, with a fennel jam, on toast. JR and I had actually decided on the clam special, until our waiter told us they were out of it - so we went with these. I liked the flavors of the dish, though the mussels were a little gritty texture-wise.
Orrija Caramelizada: Caramelized “Spanish toast” and hazelnut ice cream. Not what we expected, but decent. Huge portion, burnt on the outside. Tasted like French toast. I love the taste of burnt French toast, so I ate the outside, and JR focused on the softer inside. We’re a pretty great eating team. Didn’t completely finish the toast, but the hazelnut ice cream disappeared quickly despite our full bellies. One of the many reasons we decided to walk most of the way home.