Located just north of Brady Street, Tess is a quaint little restaurant that has a lot to offer.
What is most notable about Tess upon arrival is the physical size of the restaurant. It is located in a quiet neighborhood and the setting can best be described as a house that has been remodeled into a restaurant. A nice bar area is located immediately past the entrance and a small dining area as well as an outdoor patio await patrons. The actual indoor dining room is a little tight, but it is certainly not something that would detract from the dining experience. The outdoor patio is beautiful and probably one of the best outdoor dining spots in the city.
Unfortunately for our group, the weather did not cooperate during our most recent visit and as a result we were forced to sit inside.
We started our meal with an order of the Crispy Pork Belly ($9.00). It was very well done. The meat had a nice crispiness on the outside but was not overcooked and had great flavor. This is a tricky dish to get correct and I was hesitant in placing the order, however Tess did it to perfection. We highly recommend this if it is on the menu.
For entree’s we tried the Blakened Tilapia($21.00) as well as the Seafood Cioppino. Both were cooked to perfection. The Tilapia was a nice sized portion and the spices were perfect. It has a small kick, but was nothing overpowering. It was accompanied by a refreshing relish and basmati rice. The Cioppino ($22.00) was also really well done. The seafood was surrounded by marinara sauce and served with some crostinis. The other members of our group went with steak. The New York Strip ($29.00) was cooked very well and received rave reviews from our companions.
An interesting side note to this review, Tess does a really nice job highlighting their Gluten Free Options. This is sort of a touchy subject at some restaurants, but Tess embraces this style and almost their entire menu is GF friendly. I was really impressed with the way this place embraced this diet.
Finally, while the desert menu was tempting, we decided to order after dinner drinks instead of any more food. The Candy Cane coffee drink as well as the Irish Coffee both were a nice way to end our meal on a cool night.
The service throughout the night was top notch. From the moment we entered the restaurant, we were extremely well taken care of. Our waitress offered us insight on a number of the dishes as well as assistance with the wine list. When the bartender noted that we were about to call a cab, he insisted that he call for us and that we continue to enjoy the company of our group. It as a very enjoyable experience, not only because of the food, but because of the setting and staff.