Sunday, January 1, 2012

Terra Cafe

I've known about Terra Cafe's existence for quite a while now. They had a prominent web presence before they actually opened. I actually questioned whether or not they ever would open because it seemed as though the wait was long.

Located in Star City, it is one of the few restaurants I've actually been to there. I knew the restaurant boasted organic and fresh food. The restaurant is very easy to find. It's right off of University Avenue, on Industrial Blvd. I want during their opening week, so there were signs and balloons welcoming patrons, as well. The parking lot was pretty large, and the outside of the building looks classy and modern.

We parked and walked inside. To the right is a large dining area, with sparse tables spread throughout. There was also a couch. The dining are was spacious, and the individual tables were private since there were so few in such a large space. The decor was sleek and modern. Deep colors with hardwood floors and recessed lighting, the restaurant was gorgeous inside.


To the left was the counter, with a large menu behind on the wall. They feature coffee and drinks, breakfast, and lunch - paninis, salads, soups, sandwiches, wraps, etc. I looked over the menu quickly, and two things stuck out to me: the eggplant & prosciuttio panini on a baguette with ricotta cheese, and the spinach salad, which had grapefruit and avocado with lemon vinaigrette. I also got a drink. Apparently, if you order a sandwich, you get a small side, but the spinach salad wasn't included as an option. So I asked if I could substitute it, and just pay the difference. But the man behind the counter was flustered and simply told me I couldn't do that. I told him I could pay the extra, but apparently they just won't substitute.


So I told him to charge me the full price for the salad; he hurriedly rung it up, which came to around $18. I was shocked, but just kind of wanted out of the center of attention, so I paid and took a seat. After I sat there, I took a look at my receipt. Basically, I was charged for the full price of the sandwich, including a side that I didn't get, and the full price for the salad. I wish I would've at least chosen a side since I had to pay for it, but that got lost in the shuffle when he was just trying to get my order done and out of his way so he could move onto the next customer.

I was handed a number, and I looked around while I waited for my food to come to my table. It was definitely a young professional area. Lots of suits and stilettos and ties. That would make sense, since the gimmick of this place is "organic" and "healthy" and you get charged $18 for a sandwich and a salad. My sandwich came out, and it was about as long as the tip of my middle finger down to the bottom of my hand, and about half the width of my hand. This sandwich was small! Especially for nearly $9. The flavors, though, were on point. The ricotta was delicious and creamy. The prosciutto was slightly salty and tender, the eggplant fresh. I really liked this sandwich. But I ate it in about six bites, so I was happy I had a salad to dive into next.

One bite of the spinach, and my lips puckered. I barely tasted the sweet greens, and instead taste the citric bitterness of lemon. This wasn't just a lemon vinaigrette, it basically tasted like lemon juice. The grapefruit was sour, and the avocado absorbed the lemon flavor so mcuh, that I didn't taste the cool taste of avocado. My entire salad was one giant sour patch of disappointment. I only took a few bites, and even though it was $8, it wasn't worth trying to finish.

I was fairly disappointed in the service, as well as the salad, despite the sandwich being excellent. But it was too small... My grade was wavering between a "b" and a "c," then I remembered what happened after we were finished eating. You have to take your tray over to a small dumpster bin and put your plates and utensils in a tray and throw the garbage away. Not only did this remind me of a cafeteria, but I also have an aversion to touching others' dirty dishes. It grossed me out to see other dishes that people used already in the bins. Maybe that's bratty, but I just paid $18 for a small, yet delicious, sandwich and a terrible salad, that's the least they could do.

I left still hungry. I probably won't be going out of my way anytime soon to hit up this restaurant. Hopefully service/portions will get better with time.

Grade: C
Terra Cafe on Urbanspoon


10 comments:

  1. I have eaten here a number of times and have had great experiences. My first 2 visits were similiar as you reported, but alot has changed in the last few months. They are really listening to what customers are asking for. They have also launched a new winter menu. I have been pretty pleased.

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  2. I'm glad to hear they're finding their groove as time goes on. I'll have to check it out again. Like I said, my sandwich was fabulous. If that kind of quality is applied throughout the restaurant, I'll be happy to give it another go. Thanks for your comment!

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  3. You are not a food critic. This place is great! Quit doing reviews of restaraunts. Your reviews are annoying!

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  4. My wife and I recently went to Terra Cafe's Sunday brunch and I must say I was not overly impressed. My wife got the egg/artichoke dish and it was somewhat tasteless. I got eggs benedict and it came out at room temperature. I hate cold eggs. My wife got the fruit salad side and all the fruit was overpowered by grapefruit and I got the potato side which I admit was very good. We, like you, both left hungry and somewhat broke. Service was good though and it’s a nice atmosphere with an interesting menu. Overall, I agree with you. It was okay but there are other choices of restaurants I'd go to before I went back to Terra. And to touch on what the person said about "not being a food critic", most of us read these reviews knowing full well that you aren't an actual food critic. You are merely sharing your own opinion of your experience at a restaurant in the hopes it will help someone make a decision on where to dine. It's not like you're advising people on life altering choices. I for one would weigh the opinion of a world famous chef the same as yours. Food is so subjective anyway. I'm interested in what other's think just to see if I agree with them. The true test of a good restaraunt is whether or not they are still in buisness. I'm not a huge fan of Black Bear, but apparently they're pretty successful because they are absolutly packed every time I go. I think what you’re doing is great, and I’d be doing the same thing if I have the motivation or time to do it.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment! You're right on about not being an actual food critic, and I'm just having fun with it. Before I go to a restaurant, I always look to see what others have said about it. I'd rather get an average person's insight, because I, too, am an average person. I just want something that tastes good and isn't going to blow my wallet up. Thanks again for your comment! I've heard Terra is improving, so it might be time to check it out again.

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  5. i love your reviews, good or bad. i've had similar experiences at terra cafe, they forget things, i went through the drive through, got a salad with dressing on the side and they forgot it, but of course i didn't realize till i got home and had no dressing. sides are super small, like a 1/4 cup. baked goods are good, but the chocolate on the canollis was very waxy. too many employees, standing around. good coffee, but the salads are so expensive, it's not worth it. i love rising creek bakery and everything is perfect there.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I didn't even realize they had a drive-thru. I'll have to check out the Rising Creek Bakery - is that local? I'll look into it!

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  6. I was at their initial brunch last week. I agree there were a few hiccups but that is to be expected. I thought the food was great and know they will improve. I just saw their menu and it looks like they are already changing things up (for the better I am sure).

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    1. I've heard that they are, indeed, getting better. They're on my list for "restaurant redemption" to give them another try!

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