This post is in collaboration with Tabelog.
Earlier this year, the folks over at Tabelog invited me to be a judge in the spring 2014 restaurant awards. After many emails back and forth with Sachiko, we finally met up over dinner in Tribeca last Friday. Her Tabelog teammates and fellow food lovers, Kenta and Shouhei, joined us too. The more, the merrier! I had a great time with the Tabelog team.
I rarely hang out in Tribeca, and much to my surprise, Google maps estimated it would only take 20 minutes to get to the restaurant, including walking. I still arrived a little late though, thanks to poorly labeled streets in near World Trade Center.
Telepan Local offers a rustic space with a classy feel. It’s just like a barn, with plenty of wood panels and tactile details, but it doesn’t feel dingy in any way. The space was filled with a warm, happy glow. Such a relief from the cold outside. A cute spot for a date!
Sachiko was already sipping on a cocktail when I arrived, so I also decided to start the evening with a cocktail. It was Friday, after all! The Tequila Fresca was very refreshing, with infused grapefruit tequila, St Germain elderflower liqueur, and grapefruit and lime juices. Honestly, anything with elderflower liqueur makes me happy.
Telepan Local is Bill Telepan’s newer, more casual downtown restaurant, which features a wide selection of tapas ranging from $7 to $15. It’s not vegetarian, but there were 10 veggie dishes on the menu, excluding the specials. The waiter recommended 3-4 dishes per person, which was plenty of food for a table of four. The sunchoke and mushroom in mushroom vinaigrette was a nice salad. The veggies were sliced paper thin, allowing you to slowly enjoy the flavors as it melts in your mouth. The grilled asparagus was good, but not a major standout. The brussels sprouts and fingerlings with a coddled egg was fantastic. Who knew that egg would be so good on brussels sprouts and potatoes! The grilled cheese was not bad, but a tad bit salty.
Later in the evening, we switched to wine. I picked the Condes de Albarei 2012 Albarino to continue the refreshing, fruit-forward theme of the cocktails. Lots of zesty, citrus flavors with floral hints. The Albarino was nice with most of the vegetarian dishes, and I’m sure it was wonderful with all the fish and seafood dishes too. I was very tempted by the sea scallops and snapper. As soon as the sea scallops arrived at the table, I was overwhelmed by the smell. I only stopped eating fish and seafood at the very beginning of this year and came close to having some at this dinner. However, I got so distracted by all the conversations about food, restaurants, and blogging, haha.
For dessert, we shared the rustic pear tart and the coconut layer cake. The tart was crusty and flaky on the outside, but warm and fruity on the inside. I’m usually not a coconut fan, but the coconut cake was nice. It was very sweet compared to the pear tart though.
Note: This post is in collaboration with Tabelog. I was invited as a guest to this event and received a complimentary meal. This was not in exchange for a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.