Terra Restaurant, Columbia, SC September 2008

I am remiss in posting this review of the delightful Terra, which my husband G. Grod and I visited on our recent trip to the Carolinas. G’s mom, aunt and grandmother kindly agreed to wrangle the boys so G. Grod and I could go out to dinner and celebrate our wedding anniversary a few weeks early. There wasn’t a great deal of information about restaurants in South Carolina; Zagat’s had hardly anything. But I found Terra online, and their focuses of local, seasonal and organic ingredients and recipes sounded promising.

Our dinner more than fulfilled that promise. To start, we had the “Quack” Madame, a salad with duck confit and a quail egg, and the Frisee aux Lardon. Both were rich, warm salads that perfectly suited the cool, rainy, early-fall weather. The Quack was especially nice, as the quail egg yolk, when pierced, ran over the salad creating yet another complementary flavor and texture.

For entrees, I had a perfectly prepared NC fish, pan sauteed and served over a sweet pea risotto. G. Grod had a meltingly tender lamb shoulder, and we had the lovely experience of both insisting that we liked our own entree the best.

For dessert, we had white peach pastries and a pecan pie cannily paired with a sweet corn ice cream. The pie was very good, but that ice cream shot it into the stratosphere. And the peach pastries were what Hostess or McDonald’s fruit pies might dream of growing up to be–hot in the middle, crisp and flaky on the outside, and utterly delicious. Our helpful and personable server, Ryan, told us what the secret ingredient in the dough was that made the pastry so perfect. I’ll keep their secret, but will say it’s NOT for vegetarians.

After we’d finished, chef and owner Mike Davis came out to introduce himself, and we talked a bit about the meal, the ingredients, and how we’d found out about Terra.

I know it’s odd to find a SC restaurant reviewed on a Minnesota weblog, but if you’re ever in the Columbia area of the Carolinas, I strongly recommend that you seek out Terra. It’s a lovely restaurant, and we had a lovely meal.

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