Take A Look: 'Drunken Taste' at Tenpenny

[Photos: Jessica Leibowitz]

'Drunken Taste' at Tenpenny

In the Gotham Hotel; 16 East 46th Street, New York NY 10017 (b/n Fifth and Madison; map); 212-490-8300; tenpennynyc.com
Details: $135 for seven courses, 4 glasses of wine, a beer, a cocktail, and three liquor pours

Any meal actually called the "Drunken Taste" could have you expecting liter steins of beer and shots in between rounds, ample booze in the spirit of excess.

That's not quite what you'll find at Midtown restaurant Tenpenny, in the Gotham Hotel, where the Drunken Taste is presented as a dinner option. A meal here is certainly a more civilized affair. But the spirit of excess? They've got that one down. Plenty of tasting menus knock you out with food but hold back a bit on each wine pour. Not this one.

The set meal rings up at $135/head, for seven courses and a river of drinks. You'll see a goblet of a cocktail, four full (we mean full) glasses of wine, a beer and a shot of Maker's before you even hit dessert. But the quantity of liquor isn't really the draw; the creative, appealing dishes and equally smart pairings are. The plating is beautiful without being precious; flavors are gutsy and bold, often surprising; it's a tasting menu that feels like a meal, not a marathon.

This menu is the work of chef-partner Chris Cipollone (formerly of Faustina and Dylan Prime) and managing partner Jeffrey Tascarella ('inoteca, Scarpetta, Faustina), who also manages the beverage program. Tascarella's wine choices keep the food in mind; they're seamless with each dish, refreshing and never overpowering. And we're not talking miserly pours here: not only are they pouring full glasses, but Tascarella says that if you really like something, they'll refill your glass. (Be careful, though—agree to seconds on any drink, and things might go downhill fast.)

The menu changes seasonally; here's a look at what Tenpenny is serving with the summer's Drunken Taste.

Carey Jones and Maggie Hoffman