17. November 2006 American, Upper West Side 0

72 West 69th Street off Columbus
about $450 for four, with champagne and wine, without tip
♥ ♥ ♥

I was walking around the upper west side one afternoon when I saw the spoon, knife and fork Telepan logo. I crossed the street to check out the menu posted outside and made a mental note to return and eat there. Months elapsed and I forgot the name and location. I just kept thinking of that logo. Enter Arabella who told me a recent dinner at Telepan was one of her best meals in a long time. The Dr.’s friends were visiting from Seattle so I booked a table for four without making the connection. When it came time to eat, I walked up 69th Street and noticed the logo that’s been bugging me for some time. I knew then I was meant to eat at Telepan.

Our meals were deliciously memorable. The first thing that caught my eye was the price: $59 for a 4-course prix fixe menu, $95 with wine pairings. To me, this was an incredible deal because it’s not often New York City restaurants offer an affordable price when they pride themselves in changing the menu daily with seasonal and fresh ingredients. An amuse of swiss chard with cheese and a dainty cup of mushroom soup was served before our meal. Here’s the rest of the rundown:

Yellowtail sashimi on faro tabbouleh with cured tuna and mint
I’ve made tabbouleh before but this was so much more pleasing to the tongue. I thought matching it with yellowtail was incredible. The tabbouleh held the texture while the fish melted in my mouth. The touch of mint flavor provided the dish with spunk. I love matches made in heaven.

Hen of the Woods mushrooms with poached egg and frisée
I’ve also used Hen of the Woods mushrooms before and even managed to poach an egg. I remember how fragrant the mushrooms were. Eggs served during dinner is trendy but I have no problem with that. Simplicity is key.

Buttercup squash gnocchi with sage, wild mushrooms and pine nuts
Not to be confused with butternut squash, this cute version was served with orange gnocchi. We couldn’t tell which was pasta and which was squash meat at first but I am still amazed at how edible the squash skin was. I thought this was delightfully autumn.

Seared foie gras and foie gras-stuffed apple with duck prosciutto, cider glaze and walnuts
I haven’t had foie gras in a while so without question, this was my mid-course selection. The bitterness of the watercress stopped it from being too decadent (is there such a thing?) and yet a dollop of the cider glaze made it delicately sweet.

Duck breast with pomegranates and gold rice, duck confit and baby turnips
The duck breast was nicely seared except for two slices that had an unappetizing tint of brown and gray in the middle. We weren’t sure what made them so but we left them untouched and ate the rest.

Pancetta-wrapped monkfish with shell beans, roasted garlic sauce and black kale in herb oil
I’ve been in a fish mood lately even though I rarely order it unless it’s sushi or sashimi. Monkfish is my choice though because it’s meatier and it doesn’t flake and fall apart. Plus, how can I ever say no to pancetta-wrapped anything? This was definitely something that made me look forward to winter–a very comforting dish.

Pear with phyllo dough
This was my dessert choice. The phyllo crumbled softly while the stewed pear held its own fleshiness. I could have used less of the cream and sauce, but that’s just me without a sweet tooth.

Fig and rum panna cotta
The panna cotta was just pure booze. I think I would have like this better if it was coffee-flavored so it didn’t have to compete with the natural sweetness of the beautiful figs.

Related post/s:
Tabbouleh recipe
Using Hen of the Woods mushrooms at home
Poached egg on a salad