Telepan- Yummy with a side of Asshole

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Pants at a Glance
  • scene: Awkward collection of rooms that are light filled and pleasant, if not in an odd color scheme; Almost every table is a banquet or booth, which is nice; cramped bar area when you first walk in
  • sip: wine
  • savor: smoked trout; quail; salmon
  • sit: with patient people who have tolerance for cold food and snotty waiters
  • spend: $$
  • address: 72 West 69th (between Columbus and Central Park West)
  • phone number: (212)580-4300
  • website:
“I don’t know what to tell you.  You can keep asking me the same question and I will keep telling you that everything is good.”
File under: First offensive thing that our asshole waiter at Telepan said to us.  Curious and educated eaters that we are, we tend to ask questions about flavor compositions of dishes, and seek out some additional information that is not listed on the menu.  We often solicit some details to help make our decisions, something that is not unheard of in a restaurant. “Good” and “ great” are usually not the responses that we are looking for, since they are subjective terms and I some times disregard other people’s opinions.  Homeboy was clearly not in the mood to enlighten us about any of the dishes, nor could he distinguish that we were not asking the same question.
“Well then, I guess I am a day late and a dollar short then.”
File under: Another thing that our asshole waiter said to us at Telepan.  This cliché and poorly applied sentence was uttered when we told him that our dishes, all four of them, were stone cold, and since he had not checked on us since the runner dropped the plates, there was nothing we could do but eat them at this point.  Yep, my lobster Bolognese was cold to the point that I almost thought it was supposed to be served that way, except for the fact that my pasta was mushy.  I some times do not like to send dishes back, because it throws off the pace of the meal.  The fact that all of our dishes were cold shows that they were most likely under the lights for a while, waiting for a runner or the Asshole to bring them to us.
The waiter’s idea of service recovery was to disappear.  That was it.  All of a sudden, we were given a new waitress, like when they switched out Aunt Viv on “the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, like no one would notice.  And she did not even attempt to be friendly, seemingly mad to be given a “problem” table. She gave us complimentary desserts, and then forgot one that we had actually ordered.  Disaster.
This is all very sad because the food at Telepan was all delicious, even outstanding.  My smoked trout appetizer was prepared like a typical smoked salmon plate, with a corn blini and crème fraiche.  The trout was soft and had a ton of smoky flavor, every bite perfect in proportion.  My dad’s quail was exceptional, something that I would never consider ordering.  Every main dish, with the exception of mine, was beautifully constructed and rich in flavor, even though they were all cold.  All of this, however, will be overshadowed by the completely inept service.
Admittedly, a table full of know it alls in the restaurant business can be hard to serve, but we really don’t ask for much, and this place was an epic failure on the service front.  I believe that they ended up comping a bottle of wine, but at that point I just wished that they could have redeemed themselves not in a monetary way.  I am really torn if I will venture back to Telepan- there are many amazing restaurants in this city that have service to match.  If something ever takes me to that neighborhood I guess I will try again, but they will really have to wow me.

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