Jesús Nuñez Part Two: Spanish Wines and Cheeses, Best NYC Restaurants, and Tripe

One of the most interesting fall openings is Jesús Nuñez's Graffit, which will open on West 69th Street in November. Nuñez is well-known in Spain for his Madrid restaurants, Polenta and Flou, where he offered avant-garde, imaginative dishes like a deconstructed Spanish tortilla in seven textures. A former graffiti artist, Nuñez often conceives dishes visually first before deciding how to also make them taste good.

The chef has imported an accomplished graffiti artist from Chile to decorate the walls of the new restaurant. Check out our photo tour of the works of art.

Yesterday, we brought you the first half of our Q&A with Nuñez. Here, in the second part, the chef talks Spanish cheese and wine, his favorite New York restaurants, and what's in his refrigerator.

Have you been to Despaña?

They are a great company, I love the way they are working and the expectation they create, but everyone can buy there. I am always looking for a different company for cheese, because a lot of the Italian restaurants and the American restaurants, they all have the same cheese from Despaña. I always look for the special product that is hard to find in other restaurants. Maybe the importer will only carry one or two cheeses, but this is the cheese I want.

How about other New York restaurants, not Spanish, which you like?

I really like Annisa. ... I live on Hudson and West 10th, so probably one time every two weeks I go to Fatty Crab -- I love a few plates that they have. I really like to have brunch at the Standard Grill. And if I want a special dinner with my girlfriend, Del Posto. I know that now Del Posto has four stars; everyone is talking about it.

At Graffit, are you going to introduce New Yorkers to any ingredients they haven't seen before? When the restaurant opens, after three or four months, we will make a menu with only the pig. We eat all the pig -- every piece, we eat it. And I want to introduce some produce that some people don't know.

 

What's in your refrigerator at home?

Well, I love cheese, so I have a lot of cheese. And my girlfriend really enjoys Asian food, so we have some tofu. And I always try to have bellota ham -- it is the best -- and bellota chorizo. ... Sometimes I need to eat this kind of charcuterie. I need these products from Spain. And then we have vegetables and fruits, because my girlfriend really likes to eat salad sometimes for dinner. And Spanish wine.

Can you recommend a certain Spanish cheese that you think is the best?

Torta del casar -- it's like a creamy cheese that you open the top and eat with bread. I love this.

How about a Spanish wine that's available here and not too expensive?

There is a wine called Ossean -- this is an organic white wine from a small area, Rueda, a special location in the north-central [part] of Spain.

What do you love to eat that might surprise people?

In Madrid, there is a typical plate made from the stomach of the cow. I really like to eat this. I am like an addict. I like the texture, the spiciness of the pimenton. The gelatin of the sauce is very intense and flavorful.


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