Restaurant Challenge: Telegraph

Restaurant Challenge: Telegraph
Black Cod at Telegraph

There’s something fishy going on at Telegraph.

Walking in Saturday night with a group of friends, the sweet aroma of “good things cooking” wreathed welcomingly around us. Almost immediately, the hostess sat us in the dinning area of the minimalisticly chic restaurant and wine bar, where our attentive (but not overly so) waitress described the specials and drink options. We were instantly drawn to the “orange wines” on the menu.

What in the name of Dionysus is orange wine, you might ask? We did, too. Typically, our waitress explained, when making white wines the skins from freshly crushed grapes are removed nearly immediately. However, when making orange wines, the skins are left with the white grapes anywhere from days to months at a time. Brilliant! For those of you counting, this means that there are four – not three – colors of wine: white, red, rose, and orange. All the more reason to drink!

But while the wine intrigued, the food fell short. We began with the oyster appetizer, an easy pick since we are all oyster lovers and, at least for me, I was particularly excited about the caviar served with the oysters. What a disappointment. Although beautifully displayed over a cloud-like puff of salt, the presentation could not make up for the taste of the oysters: fishy, salty, and more fishy. We essentially drew straws to see who would eat the remaining half shells.


My dinner fared no better. I ordered the seared black cod, served with smoked Scottish salmon, Napa cabbage, and orange-champagne vinaigrette. The dish was plated elegantly, and the cabbage was light and flavorful. However, as with the oysters, these elements could not mask the taste of both the cod and the salmon: fishy, salty, and more fishy.

Fortunately, not all the food at Telegraph was plagued by fishy, salty flavor. My husband enjoyed his dish, the rustichella d’abruzzo spaghetti with peekytoe crab, although he admitted, fancy name aside, he could have just as easily made a plate of spaghetti with lump crab.

The winner of the night was the lamb sausage and pasta dish, ordered by the rest of our table. Made with thick, chewy noodles, comforting lamb, and accompanied with littleneck clams, this was the dish I wish I had ordered and that I would recommend that others order. Or I would recommend they stick with the wine bar and go elsewhere for dinner.

Try Telegraph at 2601 N. Milwaukee.

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