Bill of Rights

Chef Bill Telepan goes casual at his new downtown digs

Bill Telepan, of the eponymous restaurant on the Upper West Side, has found a new home below 14th Street, in tony Tribeca.

Telepan Local opened earlier this week with a Spanish-tapas-meets-American-classics menu overseen by executive chef Joel Javier. It's less "anniversary dinner" than his uptown digs; more "stop by for a drink and a bite after work."

Sundae | Arancini | Chef Bill Telepan | Pizzette

We checked out the new restaurant, decked out in tile and reclaimed walnut (a look Telepan jokingly calls "gentleman farmer"). Here's what we liked:

The small plates. Telepan and Javier keeps things simple–no more than four or five ingredients in their pared-down dishes such as a superlative grilled cheese crossed with pan con tomate ($6) or grilled squid on a purée of cream, almond oil and garlic. The duo is also putting a pizza oven, inherited from a previous tenant, to good use blistering pizzettes ($14)–the dough made with an 18-year-old sourdough starter–and finishing cauliflower gratin ($11) and sweetbread gratinée ($12).

Local libations. The drinks menu features nearby producers: a great G&T that pairs housemade tonic with Brooklyn's Greenhook Ginsmith gin; upstate cider from Orchard Hill; Brooklyn's Sixpoint Crispin pilsner on tap ($8).

The sweet stuff. No fussy, architectural desserts here. Pastry chef Larissa Raphael is serving thick, shareable slices of dreamy layer cakes in flavors like coconut or pecan ($10) and sundaes with housemade ice cream, sauces and brittles ($10).

The soundtrack. Unlike the jazz and bossa nova played uptown, the soundtrack at Telepan Local is a mix of alt-country and classic and alternative rock. It just feels fun. Telepan says, "We might go from Wilco to Arcade Fire to the Stones."