Telepan Local Brings Brooklyn-Chic to TriBeCa

January 13, 2014
by James Mulcahy

Restaurant world powers have combined their forces on Greenwich Street in TriBeCa to create something that feels distinctly new for this hood: a casual, small-plates eatery that is less Gotham and more Greenpoint. Uptown favorite Bill Telepan provides the muscle in the kitchen, and while he keeps the same American bent as his UWS namesake, the menu feels much-more low key. The decor is by the Haselgrave Brothers, and they've used their powers to create a warm, wooden interior that will look familiar to diners who've spent any time in Brooklyn, where their work is on display at neighborhood spots ranging from Torst to Alameda.

Will this team fly in the restaurant-laden zone that is the triangle below Canal? We dropped by to find out.

The Food: The chef uses a Spanish-tapas model to showcase American favorites, and everything available comes as a small, shareable plate. Right off the bat you can see that you're meant to have fun. The snacks section of the menu features cheese balls, shrimp poppers and pigs-in-a-blanket. Vegetables play a huge role throughout the entire selection, giving cred to the venue's "local" moniker. There's a mushroom and sunchoke salad and one of the three small pizzas comes topped with Brussels sprouts. Carnivores will like meaty options like lamb tartare with fennel and black olive, and diners of all stripes should like the price points, with most offerings falling in the lower end of the $10 to 15 range. Read on below to see more of the dishes. 

The Drinks: A strong list featuring lots of bitter and savory elements - the sweetest drink on the menu is a mix of pear brandy, bourbon and Aperol. The Nutty Apostle, uses a pecan-infused bourbon as is bases, something we've never seen before. 

The Desserts: Two words - coconut cake. The pastry is so popular that Chef Telepan is considering offering them to-go for special orders. Yes, please.

The Decor: The Haselgrave Brothers of Home Design have their signature model down. Sleek, natural-looking wood covers almost every surface in the place, creating a look that is something like a rustic German-beer hall meets hip Swiss ski chalet. Telepan Bonus points for the mirrors in the middle of the tables. When a small candle is places on the center of the glass, the light bounces in a way that makes everyone's faces glow. 

The Crowd: On our visit, the dining room was full by the time the chimes struck 7:30 PM. It seemed like a mix of curious civilians from the neighborhood (some with kids in tow) and intrigued food world folks from the rest of town (we spied culinary artist Jenifer Rubell, taking a break from her midtown dinner show Queen of the Night).

The Details: Telepan Local is open for dinner from 5 to 11:30 PM on Sunday through Thursday and they stay open til 12:30 PM on Friday and Saturday.

329 Greenwich St.; 212-966-9255

Grilled beef short ribs with spicy fermented cabbage 

Nantucket bay scallops with black trumpet puree and garlic 

The spacious marble-topped bar.

bill telepan