Last week, former Faustina and Scarpetta GM Jeffrey Tascarella, chef Chris Cipollone of Faustina and Devin Tavern, and hotel manager Klaus Ortlieb opened Tenpenny in the Gotham Hotel in Midtown. It's hidden away behind the lobby in a room with no windows save large skylight and contains just about 50 seats. But the Midtowners have immediately taken to it! Early responders mostly file raves so far on the bar scene, the look, the music, the cocktails, and most importantly, the food. Check out their early word ahead.
The Spectacular News: Blogger Span is Better Fried files a rave: "The menu is simple with something for everyone. The complimentary pretzel bread is served with thyme butter and warm mustard...Tenpenny loves you. There is no loves you not. As for the Pork Belly Croquettes, I will leave something left for the imagination. But I will tell you that they are special. Hard cider is a key agent in the dish...The appetizers alone could have sufficed the meal. They were well balanced and proportioned just right. The Baby Lettuce salad incorporated crispy vegetables for texture and had a thin coating of white balsamic vinegar. The Cipollini Soup put a new spin on the classic French Onion soup complete with foamed fontina...the Potato Gnocchi served as a buffer before the big finish. The gnocchi had me reminiscing about Le Bernardin’s holiday truffle spread as it was garnished with black truffles and sunchoke. The lobster was abundant and the gnocchi was starchy and light, less dense than usual." And there's more where that came from. [Spam is Better Fried]
The Mostly Perfect News: The Yelpers so far are huge fans, with a few of them recounting every single dish in their $68 tasting menu. This "Elite" member is a fast fan: "Tenpenny is a little bit of an overnight sensation considering I have never heard of it and had no idea what to expect....The decor was fabulous, very rich with exposed brick and deep shades of red, lots of votive lighting, and bookcases filled with antique books and wine bottles. We had a few appetizers and the 6 course tasting menu. My favorites were the Crispy Artichokes with lemon aioli and the seared scallops. I was also fascinated with the pretzel bread. How they scored the bread to look like it did I don't know but I loved it with the thyme butter and warm mustard. As my marathon eater friend Jess M and I always say- an indication that a restaurant is going to be good can be judged by their bread basket and Tenpenny wins. A little rough around the edges like my outfit that night is the service at Tenpenny. While they mean well and tried their best they were a little clumsy at times...The food far exceeds the snafus. And with a killer soundtrack of Led Zeppelin and Alice in Chains to rock, I could really see myself unwinding here time and time again." [Yelp]
The Pretty Good News: A Eater reader chimes in: "Tenpenny is a great addition to the Midtown dining scene, glad to have it near my office. Loved the porchetta ravioli, the scallops, thought the baby lettuce salad was okay. I think the cocktails could stand to be more straightforward (no chili or rootbeer) but they make the classics really well, so no big deal. Also great soundtrack." [Eater Inbox]
More Good News: Culinary Junkies loves the space, the food: "Tenpenny is located within the rear hallows of the Gotham Hotels first floor and it’s hard to describe the setting as anything but cozy. The old wood floor, along with the wood panels on the ceiling, give the restaurant almost the feel of a ship’s hull, but in a good way...I started with the crispy artichokes with lemon aioli and smoked trout roe and didn’t regret if for a moment. The main courses I sampled were both amazing, and both will bring me back to the Gotham Hotel (which like the Cooper Square Hotel operates sans a check in desk and I have yet to decode how). The first was the roasted heritage pork chop which was adorned with a bourbon glaze and was served with a scaled down savory apple pie, a unique touch and a fine complimentary flavor to a near perfect chop. The next was a dish I have yet to stop thinking about, the porchetta ravioli with smoked ricotta, rapini, and egg yolk. The perfect combination of flavors, a perfect dish." [Culinary Junkies]
The Foursquare Tips: The Foursquare folks are also fans: "Dark and cozy and beyond amazing food! Apps try beet salad, beef tartar, ocean trout crudo. Entrees: all pastas are soooo good! The pork rack is a MUST. A great addition to the area. Way needed." Another writes, "Be sure to stop in for a delicious glass of wine and don't miss out on some of the amazing food like the beef tartar and pork belly croquettes!" [4Sq]
The Twitterverse: @DailyFoodBuzz tweets: "Blown away by Exec Chef Chris Cipollone @TenpennyNYC. What a nice guy! Thank you" And @ChristinaTurley writes, "Hip hip hooray--deliscious take on a manhattan!" [Twitter]