In a centuries-old winter solstice tradition in Spain known as “hogueras,” celebrants leap over bonfires to protect the body from seasonal illness. We suppose New Yorkers can do that, too, to ward off the flu, but chances are we would prefer a more sensible ritual, such as popping over to Tertulia and tucking into a steaming bowl of Spanish chickpea soup ($10 per bowl; $6 per cup).
Chef/owner Seamus Mullen’s version of this bone-warming potage harnesses all of the hearty flavors of Iberian comfort: a porky broth that tastes of long-simmering ham hocks, graced with wintry roots, artichokes, Swiss chard, and just-shy-of-al-dente garbanzo beans. A slice of crispy Serrano adds salt and crunch while making an attractive garnish; getting to the bottom of the bowl guarantees warmth without getting burned.
Mullen opened Tertulia in the West Village in 2011, as a homage to the cider houses of Asturia in northwestern Spain. It was a finalist for Best New Restaurant at the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards and named one of the Top 10 New Restaurants of 2011 by both The New York Times and New York Magazine. Mullen also just debuted El Colmado within the Gotham West Market, which focuses on tapas and Spanish wines. And according to Eater.com, the chef will do some leaping himself in 2015 — over the East River to open a restaurant within the Pierhouse, a new condo/hotel development in Brooklyn Bridge Park.