Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Taste at Terrace

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I was fortunate enough to be invited to my very first media dinner a few weeks ago, and hopefully, it will not be my last. It was a preview of the new spring menu for Terrace restaurant at the Ellis, showcasing the talents of their new Chef - Jon Wolf, an alum of such local favorites as Restaurant Eugene and the Ritz Carlton - Buckhead. I had actually met Chef Wolf previously at an event and enjoyed talking with him about his commitment to local food, so I was very excited to get the chance to attend this dinner.

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Terrace has a bright, modern dining room that would be equally appropriate for a business meeting or a date night. Their second story, Boston fern-bedecked terrace elevates you enough from the noise and dirt of Peachtree Street to be comfortable, while still allowing for excellent people watching.

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The floral arrangements provided by floral matters were gorgeous and perfectly suited to an early spring evening, with hyacinth, Gerber daisies, the most delicate pale pink tulips and flowering peach branches. Just lovely.

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Our first course was a chilled ruby carrot and beet soup that was surprisingly savory for something that could easily be too sweet.

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I never would have expected to enjoy a raw kale salad, so was stunned when this was one of my favorite tastes of the evening. The strawberries were fantastic little bursts of sweetness and I could happily drizzle that dressing over anything.

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Up next, an incredibly fresh trout served over a fennel "carbonara" garnished with a baby pea shoot and Benton's bacon. If I had any complaints about the dish, it's that there was not enough bacon, but then, I can never get enough of Benton's.

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The roast airline breast of chicken was incredibly moist, although I was not in love with the barley risotto, it's a texture thing. I know it's supposed to be healthy for you, but I'll take rice any day.

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Dessert was really interesting with fried rhubarb and a mini carrot cupcake with beet juice sweetened cream cheese frosting. I adored the fried rhubarb and would love to see it on every menu in town.

As if a fabulous tasting dinner was not enough, we had Wholesome Wave founder Michel Nischan in attendance. For those of you not aware of this incredible organization, they strive to provide access to healthy, farm-fresh produce to some of this nation's poorest residents. One way they do this is by partnering with local farmers markets to help the markets accept and, through grant money, double food stamp money on purchases there. The Ellis hotel is one of the corporate sponsors that help facilitate this program locally at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market.