Telepan, NYC 5

December 21, 2009

On December 9, 2009, Allison, Linda and I went to Telepan before a terrific production of Il Trittico at the Metropolitan Opera. Zagat, which gives Telepan a very good 26 food rating, calls it “a deeply satisfying adult restaurant.”  That is a good description of what we like about it and why we keep going back when we are at Lincoln Center for opera, theater or concerts. The tables are widely spaced. It easy to hear conversation. The service is competent and unobtrusive.  The menu looks un-exotic, but Bill Telepan knows how to buy top quality ingredients and to bring out their flavors with well-executed classic combinations.

The menu has three small pages with six to eight selections on each one. For $55 one gets a choice from each page, plus a choice from the dessert menu. We ordered glasses of 2008 Montfaucon Côtes-du-Rhône white wine and a bottle of 2007 “Gary’s” Capieux (Santa Lucia Highlands) Pinot Noir. It had all the Pinot Noir characteristics which we appreciate.

The amuse-gueule was a little pizza, a chickpea crostino and a small cup of mushroom soup.

Nice, but a bit boring.

Allison started with the
duck prosciutto, seasonal grapes & hazelnuts

She wrote: “The foie gras was good but was a little overpowered by the grape jelly, which when combined with the hazelnuts created an almost PB&J taste, nice but not what I expected.”

Linda had the
slow-poached egg, spinach, hen-of-the-woods mushroom & toasted garlic

Linda wrote: “The crispness of the mushrooms and bread offset the very runny egg. Well done, but not Telepan‘s greatest egg dish.”

I started with the
celery root blini & green apple sour cream

The smoking is gentle and the trout still seems fresh. The celery root blini is a lovely idea.

Linda’s second course was
parsley root puree & dried fruit sauce

She thought that the combination was superb. 

Allison and I had the
baby spinach, wild mushrooms, toast & roasted garlic

Nantucket Bay scallops are seasonal and superb when fresh. They had been lightly caramelized on the outside and not overdone inside. I wouldn’t normally pair them with mushrooms, but these were meaty and went well. Allison wrote that “the best part of the dish was the toast saturated in the broth at the end.  Very rich with a satisfying little crunch.”

Linda’s main course was the
wild mushrooms, spinach, crosnes & sunchokes

She wrote: “The striped bass was cooked just as they should be with the crisped crust showcasing the flavor of the fish. The root vegetables, spinach and cooking juices completed the well thought-out dish.”

Allison and I had the
potato pierogi, sauerkraut, celery root & apple

The pork was prepared three ways: a grilled slice of loin, bacon and sausage. The combination of pork with potato, apple, and celery root was classic. The sauerkraut was underneath. I was surprised that it had not been adequately rinsed to reduce its acidity as Alsatians would for a choucroute so I only ate one bite and enjoyed the rest of the dish. Allison wrote: “The sauerkraut was strong and very, well, sour, but for me in a good way.  I know you weren’t a huge fan, but I loved it even though it basically overpowered all but the pork in the dish.”

Allison’s dessert was the
peanut brittle ice cream & huckleberry gelée

She wrote: “The dessert was not as heavy as I had feared.  The peanut butter cookie or wafer on the bottom was very light and added a great crunch to the rich gianduja.  I don’t actually remember the gelée as I was totally focused on the great chocolate and peanut butter combination.”

Linda’s dessert was the
apple confit & calvados ice cream

She wrote: “The three ways of providing apple flavor and crunchiness alongside the moist cake and good ice cream yielded a perfect, light pre-opera dessert.”

Mine was
brown sugar-whiskey sauce,  pumpkin ice cream

This was a modern presentation of luscious old-fashioned flavors. They went well together and were not too sweet with the whisky dominating the brown sugar.

We finished with double coffees to keep us awake though the four hours of Il Trittico. The meal had been very satisfying, well-served in a nice ambience; we will keep returning to Telepan.

To see our four previous blogposts on Telepan click here.

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