January 5, 2010

Telepan - Simple Ingredient-Driven Tasting Menu

It was another cold, 20F last night as I walked to Telepan to meet Hagan for our second meal as part of his 93 Plates project.  I walked down a quiet residential street, turned towards one of the brownstones, and opened the door to a serene, spring-like oasis.  This meal already promised to be a slightly more elegant than the last one we shared at H&H Bagels.

From the large photos of fresh produce, it's largely evident that Bill Telepan is a big Greenmarket fan.  So when he stopped by our table to greet us and offer up an "anything goes" tasting menu, we happily obliged.

We started off with an amuse bouche trio of Parmesan and salami pizza (crisp and salty), chopped white beets (lightly seasoned and bright in taste), and a small cup of butternut squash soup (warm and comforting) with a sprinkle of chopped nuts.
For the first course, I was presented with the House Smoked Brook Trout on buckwheat-potato blini and black radish sour cream.  It was paired with the 2008 Grüner Veltliner "Grande Reserve" Forstreiter, a crisp white wine that goes well with salty dishes.  The smoked fish was fantastic - salty, flaky, and buttery.   

Hagan's first course was the Egg in a Hole, which was a nicely poached egg on top of a piece of toast (that stayed crispy long after we spent countless minutes taking photos of the dish), spinach, garlic, vinaigrette, and a large piece of crispy hen-of-the-woods mushroom.  This plate was reminded me of the Egg dish at Blue Hill.  Perhaps it was the bright runny yolk or the meaty, roasted mushroom...regardless, it was full of earthy flavors and reminded me why I love local greenmarkets.  The dish was paired with the 2008 Fiano di Avellino "Colli di Lapio" Clelia Romano to bring out the earthiness of the mushroom.

My second course was the Lobster Bolognese with a lobster tail on top of spaghetti, light herbs, and a shallot-garlic-tomato broth.  It was paired with a rich, dry, full-bodied 2008 Castello di Porcia Pinot Grigio.  There was some acidity in the dish, so the wine helped to balance that flavor.

The best pairing of the night was the 2008 Shiraz-Cabernet-Grenache "Stickleback Red" Heartland with Hagan's second dish, the Duck and Foie Gras Ravioli.
The ravioli was filled with foie gras and duck.  With these salty ingredients, plus the parsley root puree, and sweet dried fruit sauce, it was an incredibly rich dish.  The wine was juicy, spicy, and full-bodied so it both elevated and balanced the richness of the dish.  (Hagan seemed to have one of those euphoric food experiences while enjoying this pairing).
My third course were the Maine Sea Scallops with manilla clams, house-made chorizo, fennel, and risotto.  This dish was like an elegant version of paella and managed to retained the warmth and comfort of the traditional Spanish dish.  Though the scallops were large and meaty, I loved that the dish was paired with a nice Spanish red wine - the 2007 Garnacha "Evodia" Altovinum to highlight the spicy flavors of the chorizo.
Hagan's third course was the Heritage Pork.  There were crispy pork skins, pork sausage with sauerkraut, potato pierogi, fat pork loin with celery root, meaty bacon, and applesauce.  It was paired with Yannick Pelletier's LOiselet Saint Chinian.  The bouquet was strong (I smelled Juniper, almost reminding me of grandmother's musky perfume while Hagan was convinced he smelled flowers).  It's a full-bodied blend of grenache and cinsault grapes (you can definitely taste the juicy grenache) and holds up well to this ode-to-pork dish.
Hagan's deconstructed Heritage Pork flight with accompaniments.
It's dessert time and Bill presents us with not one, but three desserts with wine pairings.  The first dish (at left) was the Quince Granita Parfait with quince, yogurt cream, toasted almonds, and showered with prosecco.  It was the tastiest (and most sophisticated) snowcone I've ever had!  The parfait was paired with the 2007 Brachetto D'Aqui, Ca' dei Mandorli. 

The next dessert (at right) was the Bread Pudding with Port-soaked Cherries, cherry ice cream, and brandy sauce.  It was paired with an East Indian sherry  (likely Emilio Lustau)   
Finally, my favorite dessert of the night:  Crunchy Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Gianduja with peanut brittle ice cream and huckleberry gelée.  To me, it was like an adult version of PB&J - rich flavors, tons of different textures, and a reminder of one of my favorite childhood sandwiches.  It was paired with a glass of dark, full-bodied port (much better than a glass of milk!)

Thanks to Hagan and Bill Telepan for a delicious and hedonistic meal.  I'll probably return for a special occasion with my other half as the four-course tasting menu is a steal at $55 each ($101 with wine).

Telepan is located at 72 W 69th St (btwn Columbus Ave and Central Park West) in NYC.


  1. drooling with jealousy! =) looks so yummy.... imma have to stop by one of these days =)

  2. @and this blog: Definitely check it out (and if you want a food buddy to tag along, I'll all for going again!)

    @FLB: The food was really good and the overall atmosphere was relaxing...You and your hubby should enjoy a nice dinner here soon!

  3. How cool! I love restaurants with smaller dishes. The start pizza and soup look delicious, as does the Quince Granita Parfait. I love how bright/clean the restaurant looks inside. A great find

  4. I am speechless. That food looks amazing. And I love the smaller plates -- it makes you really appreciate the taste.


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