Thanks to CH, my NY friends think I'm a genius...Prune, Telepan & Babbo visits
SF chowhound visitng friends and family in NYC for 4 nights. Thanks to you Chowhound, I picked 4 perfect spots and our guests now think I have amazing powers.
We arrived at EWR on Sun. night and is the only night I could handle waiting unitl 10:30PM for a dinner reservation (my body thought it was 7:30). We had a fun waiter and great service. It was the 3rd time we've been there where we've closed the place down and stayed longer than the waitstaff's shift so we were transferred to new waiters mid-meal (a little odd).
Our waiter encouraged us to order outside our comfort zone and order #1 things we would not have considered trying ( Warm Lamb’s Tongue Vinaigrette with Chanterelles and a 3-Minute Egg) and #2 not to order items we've had there before (for ex., Black Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp, Spicy Salami Calabrese and Green Chiles instead of Mint Love Letters). We loved everything he recommended ( Testa with Pickled Pearls and Thyme Vinaigrette, Brasato al Barolo, Braised Beef with Porcini Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta). YUM!!!
The next stop was Prune. Apparently a local's favorite that our friends could not believe we knew about.
Very tiny place with a tiny menu. Warm welcoming atmosphere albeit cramped and crowded. We loved most everything we ordered but the selections we were interested in were limited. I would check the current menu before visiting again to make sure there were items that we liked. Manilla Clams with Hominy and paprika butter.....great flavor. Bronzino Fish Grilled with Lemon pepercorn oil...... tastey but too many bones, Braised Lambshank in parchment.....tastey but a bit fatty. Spicy split Okra and other side dishes were delicious. Wine choices were also limited. All in all a good experience though.
Next was Fresco by Scotto because we needed to be Mid-town West. I understand most restaurants in the area cater to the business crowd. Food was good and we were so engrosed in our conversation that the evening went well but it was not the homestyle, family italian I had been expecting. Portions were large and hearty. Sea Bass, Duck and Mushroom Fet., and Penne with Chicken Bolognese. Good food but not outstanding.
Telepan was the standout of the visit though. When we got past the incredible attitude and then paid the penance for a reservation mix-up (on my part I will add but an honest mistake that was more easily rectified than the host would let on). The meal was outstanding.
We all had the 4 course Menu so I can't remember it all but I loved my choices:
HOUSE SMOKED BROOK TROUT
celery root blini and green apple sour cream
BUTTERCUP SQUASH GNOCCHI
wild mushrooms, sage and baby pumpkin (WOW!)
SEARED DUCK BREAST
pomegranates, black & gold rice, duck confit & baby turnips
CRUNCHY PEANUT BUTTER & MILK CHOCOLATE GIANDUJA
peanut brittle ice cream & huckleberry gelée
Wow......4 rich dinners plus a business lunch at Morimoto in Chelsea (nice, large and well done bento boxes but appeared overhyped), If I lived there I would weigh 300 lbs. I'm glad to be back in SF and back at the gym.......... until next time!
So many restaurants, so little time!!
Thanks for reporting back! Glad to hear you enjoyed your visit, and do come back soon for more chow :)
Thanks for the great report -- so few people do. It's always terrific to get a visitor's reaction to NYC restaurants. I especially appreciated your generosity in praising the food at Telepan despite your disappointing experience with your reservation.