Terrene Restaurant in St. Louis
Terrene means “of the earth”, a very apt name for this eco-friendly restaurant in the Central West End of St. Louis. In addition to the menus being printed on recycled paper, the bar tables were fashioned from office paper (don’t ask me how). Look closely and you’ll see embedded staple and paper clip remains.
But that only scratches the surface of why the owners named the restaurant Terrene. All meats come from animals that have been treated humanely, the produce comes from local farmers, and there’s a large and inventive selection of vegetarian options. We started with amazing tofu tacos. The freshly made corn tortillas had been grilled, the tofu was cut so small that non-tofu eaters could be fooled into thinking they were eating chicken, and the salsa verde dipping sauce was redolent of a green garden.
We also enjoyed a veggie sausage flatbread, which tasted just like authentic Italian sausage with fennel and spices. I was initially skeptical of the provolone cheese, but it had just the right flavor and texture to complement the chewy crust. The “meat” comes from the St. Louis based Match Meat Company. I am going to try to get Whole Foods in Kansas City to carry it; it would revolutionize options for the home cook trying to serve healthier meals. Another creative dish was the pear and goat cheese salad. The pear was cored and stuffed with goat cheese, a preparation I had never seen.
Meat-lovers need not dispair, the menu has a host of non-vegetarian dishes. There are small plates as well as entrees, including chicken, pork and steak dishes, a nightly fish special and bouillabaisse. I had quail, stuffed with a fruit studded couscous and served with greens and a berry sauce. The soup of the day was a dark gumbo with chicken, tasso ham and crawfish.
We were there on a Sunday night, and though the bar was quiet, the dining area was full. The terrazzo floors and brick walls made it a bit noisy, but not uncomfortably so. Unfortunately, it was too cold for outside dining, but one peek at the cozy patio explained why it’s voted “best patio dining” year after year in a local magazine.