Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Terra American Bistro

Terra American Bistro has relocated to the East College District after being in Hillcrest for 13 years. Terra brings local, sustainable, and organic farm to table food to east county. Well it's about time someone offers east county folks some good grub! And this grub was damn good!!! Terra's ambiance has a rustic farm feel with a communal farm chefs table and old school tractor in front of the building. The decor is simple but to the point.
It was a Tuesday night and I was surprised to see how busy it was.
We started with Padron Peppers from Suzie's Farms. The were fried then tossed in salt, pepper, fried garlic, and finished with lemon, lime and orange zest.
They were not spicy but sometimes you get one that has some heat to it. So eat at your own risk!Fried Okra with Chorizo Aioli
Did you say there is chorizo in the aioli? WELL HOT DAMN!!!
I am not a huge okra fan but you cant go wrong with fried okra. Okra done right! Rosemary Garlic Crostini topped with Ricotta and Yellowtail Bottarga
Bottarga is sometimes called the poor mans caviar and while we eating it that night, we got the full story of how it is made by Loren Brent, who is the Sous Chef at Terra. While filleting a yellowtail fish Loren came across a large roe sack. He took it out wrapped it in cheese cloth and rested it in a bed of kosher salt and covered it with kosher salt. 3 weeks later it had shrunk in size by almost half. He then removed it from the sea salt grave and buried it a fresh salt grave for another 3 weeks. Then took it out and thinly sliced it and preserved it in house made house-smoked tomato oil. The appetizer consisted of a rosemary garlic crostini, ricotta cheese, bottarga. It was broiled then finished with a summer micro blend from Suzie's Farms tossed in lemon juice.
Cured seafood huh? Don't see that too often. Yeah, you can say this was a special treat. Thanks Loren!
Cambazola Crostini - garlic confit, house pickled mushrooms, rosemary-garlic crostini
The mushrooms are pickled in red wine vinegar, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. They are atop the rosemary garlic crostini, with melted cambazola cheese which is like a brie/blue cheese and garlic confit was placed in a ramekin which I spread on top of the crostini. This was a favorite of everyone at the table for sure and one of us doesn't even like mushrooms! The baby greens along side next to them came from Crows Pass Farms tossed in a kaffir lime vinaigrette. Can I get this dressing to go? Delish!
Beets & Greens - goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts, honey-miso dressing
How gorgeous are these beets? Thinly sliced and so colorful and sweet. The fresh from the farm lettuce was lightly dressed and had a splendid sweet light flavor. Grilled Local Fish - Yellowtail with ginger-soy glaze, stir fried vegetables, wasabi-aioli, organic brown rice
This was my meal and it was light and healthy. The vegetables were cooked al dente which is how I like my vegetables cooked. The sweet & tangy ginger-soy glaze complimented the yellowtail really well. Chipotle Skirt Steak - black beans, pico de gallo, chili honey glazed potato brie quesadilla, field greens and avocado crema
Okay this was my favorite dish of the night. I could not stop taking bites of it and it wasn't even mine. This will be my main course when I return to Terra for round two. Loved the potato brie filled quesadilla although I didn't taste too much brie. I would like more brie and less potato personally. The steak was tender and melted in my mouth. Who knew skirt steak could be so good?Grilled Flat Iron Steak - avocado chimichurri sauce, smoked onion marmalade, mashed yukon potatoes, market vegetables
I didn't get to try this one but it looked amazing and disappeared pretty fast from the plate! The special steak of the evening was a Gorgonzola Crusted Flat Iron Steak with local market vegetables, baked potato, and local maitaki mushrooms sauteed in brown butter & herbs
All of this goodness extends to the bar too. Terra has more then 80 bottles of mostly California wines, and unique local craft beers, seasonal fruit and herb infused vodkas. I had a basil martini that went down oh so smoothly.
Oh and the water of the evening was flavored with orange and mint. Absolutely delightful and refreshing.
Chef Jeff Rossman of Terra has done it right this time, and you east county folks need to be making Terra a weekly stop. Hey I moved out of East County a year and a half ago but now with Terra present, it's more of reason to go back sooner then later.

Oh, Banana & Candied Pecan Bread Pudding is on the menu now! And a pork belly basted in sweet caramel-like garlic milk should be ready to go by as early as next Tuesday or Wednesday. I got to sample the milk. It tasted like candy.

If that doesn't get you there...I don't know what will?
Terra American Bistro
7091 el cajon blvd. san diego ca. 92115

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