Round 2 of Restaurant Week Lunch: Telepan
Oh vey. Another restaurant to eat in. Two more to go…(that’s next week)
Telepan in my perspective, a restaurant that caters to the neighborhood…well sort of. It’s very basic food fare (nothing out of the ordinary) and the prices are moderate, considering the location.
When I first entered the door of this restaurant, at the maître d’s table I saw a small stack of Chef Bill Telepan’s book! It just hit me of the NY Times article that Frank Bruni just written about. If you want to know what I’m talking about, click here. I felt a bit of vexation at that moment but it passed on.
I was seated all the way in the back of the restaurant, in the corner. My first thought was “Why?” but a few moments passed on, I thought to myself, “I don’t mind some privacy.” Should I mention that I was eating alone? And I lugged my Canon Rebel XT? So that’s why I thought the latter. Also, I was seated a few tables away from two men trying to open a new restaurant of sorts and briefly met with Chef Telepan during the middle of my lunch.
Anyways, back to the restaurant. The interior’s very streamlined and it tries to be cheery or slightly energetic of sorts due to the lime green walls and the interesting lights that hang from the ceiling.
The waiters and waitress (she served me initially but changed to a man later on) were courteous and presented my menu.
I ordered an orange pekoe tea to begin with since I was freezing my butt off in 30 degrees weather (less with the wind chill factor). I know; it’s an extra $5 that will be added to my check and I could live with it. I just want to drink something warm! The tea’s pictured below. Somehow, it seems Bodum’s teaware is eponymously used in all restaurants in Manhattan. Hmmm…
Onto the food! I ordered: the House Smoked Brook Trout, the Duck Leg Confit, and the Crunchy Peanut Butter and Gianduja. Once I ordered, the bread came in:
Honestly, I was anticipating a bread basket or tray but all I received was a warm, crusty, white roll. It was good but nothing sensational and the butter was fine.
My appetizer, the House Smoked Brook Trout, looked really good and it tasted delicious.
The trout is resting on top of a potato-buckwheat blini and a thin layer of radish sour cream. The trout was faintly smoked and it had a touch of bitterness from the shredded turnips. I just love that blini. It’s very smooth and seductively creamy that I wished I have some more. The buckwheat flavor adds a nice nutty flavor to the soft, creamy potato.
The entrée, Duck Leg Confit was honestly, my first duck confit.
Even though I have read hundreds of times how to make duck leg confit, I have never attempted to make it myself. Anyways, my duck leg was succulent and delicious but it lacked that crispy skin that I hoped for. Nevertheless the duck meat and duck fat melts in my mouth that I can overlook that little flaw. The baby turnip greens, that is under the left half of the leg, was cooked perfectly and it imparted a nice sweet-bitter flavor to go along with the duck. The farro (seen on the photo below) was nutty and toothsome that gave it a good contrast to the soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture of the duck. The dried cherries was sweet and tart that went along with the nutty farro and the savory-sweet sauce.
This dessert is really trying to play on the American childhood nostalgia: peanut butter and jelly or the Kit-Kat bar and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
The main portion of the dessert (the bar/cake in the center of the plate) reminds me of an upscale version of a Kit-Kat bar (texturally) with the flavor of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It was really delicious. The gianduja somehow was really concentrated with the ground peanuts (hazelnuts were absent from this particular recipe, from what I tasted) that it was really nutty and crunchy with that biscuit that is on the bottom of this bar. The ice cream was intensely flavored with peanut butter and it was insanely creamy and rich. The small pool of dark, bittersweet chocolate (nearing or is at 80% cocoa) is a great addition to contrast the sweetness to the bar.
The only thing that disappointed me was the huckleberry gelée because it insipid. I didn’t really taste any huckleberry flavor (only a very faint hint of tartness) and it wasn’t sweet or tart. All it really was a small pile of dark blue-black, slightly chewy jelly.
In all, the food is very good but not very inventive fare. The ingredients are fresh and it’s cooked almost spot-on. The staff is friendly and attentive; they didn’t treat me like a weird person who likes to take photos of food and ate alone attitude. If I had the choice of coming back to eat here, I would.