Classic Tables: Telepan

Telepan is as good as ever

Let us begin with trout.

Cold-smoked over hickory and applewood before being gently poached sous-vide, the fish flakes in dense filaments over an oversize buckwheat-potato blini, surrounded by black-radish sour cream. It is a wood-kissed beacon of winter.

So starts a meal at Telepan, Bill Telepan's eponymous restaurant on the Upper West Side. Many a New York chef these days loudly broadcasts his or her sourcing. At Telepan, the impeccable local ingredients celebrate themselves.

During our recent meal there, that trout blini, which has never left Telepan's menu, was the first of four satisfying, thoughtful courses ($69 for four courses). Second was mustard-crusted celery root from, as Telepan himself calls it, the "creamy" section of the menu. First braised, then sided by a teetering celery-root flan, the knobby root was treated with the care typically reserved for foie gras.

The main course: Flying Pigs Farm pork three ways, with house-fermented sauerkraut and a tender potato pierogi. To finish: a Meyer lemon meringue tart from pastry chef Larissa Raphael, accompanied by a glut of citrus segments showered with white-chocolate shavings.

There are fancier restaurants in New York; there are buzzier restaurants in New York. We can think of few so effortlessly sure of themselves and their purpose.

72 W. 69th St. (at Columbus Ave.); 212-580-4300 or telepan-ny.com