Bon Appétit’s Adam Rapoport On El Colmado Butchery’s Debut, Meat-Buying 101, And More

by Alexandra Ilyashov

Last week, Bon Appétit toasted the arrival of superb chef Seamus Mullen’s newest spot, El Colmado Butchery, in the Meatpacking ‘hood. (You might know Mullen’s talents from his perpetually packed West Village tapas joint, Tertulia, and his Gotham West Market outpost, El Colmado.) During the day, the glossy brought out the likes of Lulu Frost’s Lisa Salzer, The New Potato’s Danielle and Laura Kosann, and Alix of Bohemia’s Alix Verley Pietrafesa for lunchtime nibbles like beet salad with feta, killer Brussels sprouts, and a scrumptious array of sandwiches. Ralph Lauren Paints provided the chic paint job, and for guests inspired to do a bit of décor rebooting, there were paint swatches to snag on the way out. In the eve, a gaggle of chefs and BA pals dropped by for vino, charcuterie, and more. Not too shabby a housewarming, non? Bon Appétit EIC Adam Rapoport filled us in on why he digs Mullen’s resto, where he buys prime cuts, what he’s eating for dessert this Thanksgiving—and what’s up with the dramatic-sounding move of BA’s test kitchen to Conde’s new downtown HQ.

What makes El Colmado Butchery very Bon Appetit-apropos?
I’m kind of a meat nerd, So Colmado had me as soon as I walked in the door. I could hang out in a butcher shop all day, watching the guys work. I also love that it’s small and focused—you know what you’re going to get. Great steaks, great rotisserie chickens, quality wines. No unnecessary bells and whistles. There are plenty of other places in the Meatpacking District for that.

What do you love about Seamus Mullen’s cooking?
Flavor is king. Maybe complex at times, but never complicated.

How are your own butchery skills?
Let’s just say I’m a far better eater than I am butcher.

Who’s your go-to butcher in NYC?
My favorite butcher shop is Florence Meat Market on Jones Street in the West Village. Been there since the ‘30s, screen door, saw dust on the floor. Ask for Maria.

Ralph Lauren painted El Colmado for the occasion. How do a restaurant’s wall hues impact the dining experience?
The bar is so high in New York for restaurant décor—the paint, the wallpaper, the lighting. You’ve got to nail it. Period.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching: What will we definitely not find?
I’m sticking to what we preach in the November issue of Bon Appétit—no pumpkin pie this year. Why? Because no one really loves pumpkin pie. We eat it because we think we’re supposed to eat it. But isn’t that kind of the opposite of what dessert is all about? Eat what you want. This year, it’s all about a brown-butter apple galette.

How do you feel about Thanksgiving-flavored things, like Momofuku Milk Bar’s Thanksgiving croissant?
I mean, no disrespect to Milk Bar—Christina Tosi rules—but as you can tell, I’m not big on things that taste like pumpkin and nutmeg and mace and cinnamon. Don’t even get me started on pumpkin-spiced lattes.

Lastly, we recently read in The NY Post about this ordeal of re-routing the exhaust system for BA‘s test kitchen from 4 Times Sq. to 1 WTC. Tell us more, please!
Honestly, that’s the first I had heard of it too! All I know is that while it was a bit of a headache, it wasn’t nearly as costly as the Post claimed it was.

Photography by Clay Williams

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