Telepan Retains Its Luster -- and Then Some
To get into the farmers' market swing of things, we picked sunny-side egg, which turned out to be a beautiful runny egg cooked in a springform sitting on top of a largish Parmesan crouton, with shredded greens in between and a perky Italian salsa verde squirted around and on top. Delightful! Unfortunately, the other first course, a beet and heirloom tomato salad, was a bit disappointing, featuring only a few grape tomatoes and cubes of yellow beet in a reduced dark-vinegar sauce. Altogether too meager for the lushness that we'd expected. Luckily, it was the evening's only disappointment.
The second course lures with its pastas (there is an overall Italian bend to the bill of fare), but also includes homemade burrata and an eggplant dish of fried and stewed vegetable, widely considered to be one of the chef's signatures. But who could resist something called lobster Bolognese? It was a rich pasta in a modest bowl, with a nice piece of grilled lobster tail on top and little nuggets of meat in the sauce. The crustacean imparted an elusive sweetness to the noodles. Nearly its equal was a handful of gulf shrimp nested in linguine with some very Sicilian bread crumbs, flat leaf parsley, and a nice dose of garlic. Both pastas had a homely quality and left you wanting more.
Neither did the main courses disappoint. There was a pig tasting that included loin, belly, and roast done in a variety of ways, with a julienne of veggies in what amounted to a demi glace, and a nicely browned skin-on chicken quarter, cut up in small pieces, in a barley broth with a couple of wedges of what can only be described as herbal matzo balls.
The three courses left us full, but because the dessert was included, we forged ahead. Dipping into that squash menu (which one of us had done already via a pumpkin margarita, which was much better than its sounds, light on the pumpkin flavor and not canned pumpkin, either), we grabbed the pecan-and-squash pie, which was really a small tart in a crumbly round pastry. The other dessert was a collection of little breaded nuggets -- I don't remember what they called them -- filled with hot pudding, with a pair of dipping sauces. Let successful than the tart, but still good.
After several cups of coffee, we left feeling entirely satiated and planning our next assault on this wonderful and low-key Upper West Side place.
72 West 69th Street
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