Neighborhood: West Village, Manhattan
Address: 359 6th Ave.
Seamus Mullen proved his mettle years ago with the opening of celebrated Iberian tapas joint Boqueria. But the chef, who took a hiatus from cooking to deal with rheumatoid arthritis, summons still-greater finesse at Tertulia, this sceney West Village newcomer. In the orange light of a gorgeous wood-fired grill, buoyed by bargain glasses of wine and Basque cider (pulled, as is the trend these days, from dedicated tap lines), my friends and I cleaned plates of sardine-topped toasts; smoky and briny clams; and wisps of Iberico ham shaved from a whole haunch.—JR