Tessa Is For Real…

Burrata Andriese
Burrata Andriese

Like weeds in the summertime, restaurants are sprouting up on the Upper West Side. Tessa is a budding rose amongst a garden of ordinary carnations.

Tessa exterior

Tessa moved into the ‘hood 2 months ago and we recently sampled her wares. I felt protected because if Tessa sucked we could jump right next store to our favorite standby, Chirping Chicken. No worries, Tessa delivered the goods.

Tessa is sexy, attractive and has integrity. The restaurant on 77th Street and Amsterdam Avenue has a great vibe. Our server, Emily, an aspiring Broadway babe, treated us with aplomb and guided us through the appealing menu with confidence and assertiveness.

bread Tessa

I started with my summer drink of choice, rose (with an accent intended), a lovely pink potion from Provence ($11). Emily proved a generous pour.

The bread was fresh and delicious, but the butter, peppered with sea salt and gracefully wading in a small puddle of EVOO, was superb. Check…bread good, restaurant has a great chance of being way above average.

The burrata was amazeballs. Huge (very sharable), tender, flavorful, ringed with arugula, aged balsamic, unfiltered olive oil and roasted tomatoes ($16)…yum!

Beet Salad
Beet Salad

We followed with a colorful beet salad with red, golden and candy striped satur farm beets, a divine dandelion orange pesto dressing and hazelnut vinaigrette ($11). Personally, I do not understand why restaurants are so chintzy with the nuts, etc. They were delish and a few more would have further enhanced the lovely salad…I did not want to order beets, but Emily won me over and the delicate beets balanced out the piece of bread and butter I consumed.

Octopus A La Plancha
Octopus A La Plancha

Next course, the mandatory octopus. One of my readers pointed out that charred octopus was a staple in my restaurant reviews…that is because my hubby is a tentacle guy as well as a non-meat and fowl eater so octopus is his go to food…shall we say, his bacon. The octopus was perfectly charred and the side salad was composed of yellow squash caponata, green olive tapenade and aged balsamic ($17).

Scallop With Lemon Risotto
Scallop With Lemon Risotto

The scallop with lemon risotto, chorizo crust and english peas (small ($18, full order $28) was incredible…it arrived looking like a scallop pizza and we indulged rapidly…bummer, it was gone in moments.

Amongst other selections, they serve steamed striped bass ($31), roasted free range chicken breast ($25), Tessa burger with rosemary fries ($19) and strip steak frites ($38). 

Executive Cedric Tovar
Executive Cedric Tovar

Larry Bellone and executive chef Cedric Tovar, who previously cooked at Bobo, Rosemary’s and Peacock Alley in the Waldorf Astoria, are the dynamic duo who recently opened Tessa.

Tessa Interior

The industrial design is dramatic for the zip code, with brick walls offset by accordion-style iron security gates. Natural wood is also featured. The planks highlight a staircase leading down to the bathrooms and a small, but attractive open basement kitchen. 

Tessa Downstairs Kitchen
Tessa Downstairs Kitchen

Tessa is a great neighborhood place and I also recommend it as a culinary destination.

Tessa Restaurant  349 Amsterdam and 77th NYC. Open for Dinner: Sunday-Wednesday 5:30-11pm, Thursday-Saturday 5:30-midnight. Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30am-3pm. Brunch: Saturday-Sunday 11am-3pm.  Mezze: Monday-Sunday 3:00-5:30. tessanyc.com. Reservations are suggested on OpenTable.com.

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