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Upper West Side
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Cedric Tovar turned out updated French at Bobo and splashy Italian at Rosemary’s—now the Alsatian chef marries the two genres for this uptown tavern. The 1,750-square-foot digs are industrial—subway-grate ceilings, gunmetal stools—but the food is rustic Mediterranean: grilled rouget with fennel marmalade and pickled mustard seeds; razor-clam escabèche with lemon confit and toasted almonds; and venison-loin carpaccio with caper-leek chimichurri and shaved Parmesan. Pastas are house-made, like the linguine for the cacio e pepe, invigorated with Tasmanian pepper and pickled lemon zest. Drew Shields—who spent time popping bottles for Daniel Boulud and David Burke—cruises the Mediterranean coast for the 60-bottle wine list, offering prosecco and South-of-France varietals.
Venue name: Tessa
Address: 349 Amsterdam Ave
Cross street: between 76th and 77th Sts
Opening hours: Mon–Wed, Sun 5–11pm; Thu–Sat 5pm–midnight
Transport: Subway: 1 to 79th St
Price: Average entrée: $28. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Chris L

Even if you don't stay for a meal here at Tessa, the bar for me is the real selling point.  Very laid back and chilled out atmosphere with a fantastic wine selection.  Perfect for a Sunday afternoon - particularly in the winter months, as the Reds are superb.