BITE OF THE MOMENT: TESSA

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[All photos by Conor Rose]

There’s no shortage of date night dinner spots in Manhattan – however finding the perfect combination of romantic ambiance, impeccable service, and fabulous food and drink can be tricky. TESSAย lives up to the challenge, with its cozy (yet still buzzing) space, attentive (yet not overbearing) staff, and of course, there’s the food. Influenced by Italian, American, Spanish, and French cuisines, the menu manages to be innovative, yet still comforting.

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That goes for the drink menu, too – cocktails were expertly crafted to taste as lovely as they looked, and we imbibed in the Love Me Frida (tequila, lime, Concord grape puree, garnished with a fresh flower) and a 349 (bourbon, amaro, honey, lemon, ginger beer). To start off the meal, we gobbled down the Baby Beet Salad (composed of petite watercress, candied kumquat, basil puree, goat cheese tzatziki, hazelnuts, croutons) which brought about a pleasant mix of textures in a combination of ingredients that we undoubtedly fresh.

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For entrees, we chose the artfully plated, perfectly charred Grilled Branzino perched atop broccoli rabe and fingerling potatoes on pimento coulis and fennel puree, as well as the Long Island Duck, accompanied with glazed baby carrots, cipollini onions, tarragon, and tiny duck confit stuffed pastries – the plate of the latter was practically licked clean.

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To finish, we enjoyed a small pile of doughnuts along with apple pie topped with a dollop of rum raisin ice cream. If this didn’t already convince you to visit TESSA, let the neighborhood tell it like it is – by the end of our meal, we noticed in our happily satiated haze that the restaurant had already filled up,, and there was a even a wait – a great sign for a Tuesday night.

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For more photos, click here. This meal was provided by Tessa (a restaurant we love!) and all opinions are our own.