I went to Terrene recently. It’s a nice restaurant in the Central West End in St. Louis, Missouri. They pride themselves on using lots of fresh, local ingredients supplied by local and regional farmers. I love restaurants that make conscious choices to help our planet. Plus, local food just tastes better!
The ambiance of Terrence was very romantic and dark. Lots of muted colors and low lighting. Oooh la la!
I scoured the menu before I arrived, which was probably a mistake – their menu changes as ingredients fall into and out of season! So there were a few surprises on the actual menu that I didn’t see online. No worries! I’m flexible, and I love trying new food.
I was super hungry, so I started with some small plates. First up: calamari!
This was spectacular! Flash fried calamari, mozzarella stuffed pickled peppers, and a caper + anchovy green sauce. The calamari was so tender, and the green sauce was delicious! Very light and refreshing.
Next up? Pork belly! I was hoping to try sweetbreads, but that was no longer offered, so pork belly was a delicious second choice!
Sorry about the flash. It was dark in there, and flash was definitely needed! The pork belly was glazed with some sort of sweet smoky barbecue sauce, and came with pureed sweet potato topped with pepitas.
This. Was. Heavenly. I’ve never had pork belly before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. This was so juicy and moist, and it literally melted in my mouth! It was a little fatty (hello, it’s pork belly!), but it was so amazing.
For the final small plate we decided to try the frites: Hand cut fries topped with black pepper salt, and served with pickled onion mayonnaise and spicy horseradish ketchup for dipping.
Small plate, eh? Pssssh! This mound of fries was huge! They were seasoned so perfectly, and they were piping hot and crispy. The dipping sauces were both delectable, but the pickled onion mayo stole my heart!
Somehow, after ordering three appetizers, we were still hungry for dinner! My friend ordered the special of the day: pork tenderloin. It came with grits and collard greens. It was all covered in a delicious balsamic reduction.
I stole a bite, and it was fantastic! The pork was so tender and juicy. The grits (or was it polenta?) were creamy and sweet, and the collard greens were fantastic as well. Look at that bright green color! The balsamic reduction was sweet, yet rich. I haven’t met a balsamic reduction that I haven’t liked!
I ordered the seared diver scallops. It was accompanied with potato gnocchi, beets, greens, and some sort of creamy white sauce.
Do I even have to say how good this was? It was good! The scallops were fork tender and tasted so fresh (which is a feat, since we live in the land-locked state of Missouri!). The potato gnocchi were soft and succulent. The beets were sweet and tender. Everything was so good!
Our service was impeccable. They messed up my order initially, and brought out mussels instead of my scallops. I informed our server of the mistake, and he apologized profusely and allowed me to pick a soup or salad of my choosing to nibble on as I waited for them to bring out the correct order. Yay for free food! I chose the soup of the day, which was a roasted sweet potato soup:
It was drizzled with a balsamic reduction. The soup was pretty good, but I was hoping for some chunks of sweet potato or something. It was a little too baby-food like for my taste. It was very rich, though – the sweet potato flavor was definitely there.
By the time dessert rolled around, we were both too stuffed to partake. Besides, they didn’t offer bread pudding, so why waste my time? 😉
Time for scores!
Food: 5 stars (out of five)
Ambiance: 5 stars
Service: 5 stars
Value: 3 stars (It was expensive! Glad I wasn’t paying 😉 )
Overall, Terrene was a wonderful, magical culinary experience. The food was great, and I’m still daydreaming about my scallops.