I’ve had better hors d’oeuvre at Radisson and Holiday Inn Convention Centers near suburban airports, than was served at Terroir the other night.
The new Portland restaurant Terroir, has some of the worst food I’ve experienced in some time. If their opening is any indication of what the kitchen is going to pull off on a regular basis, they really are in trouble. In addition, the cans of RockStar Energy Drink that were everywhere were beyond tacky in a restaurant that has been working hard to build an image of fine dining.
The invite specified “Chef and Owner Stu Stein is preparing special appetizers for the evening, paired with Maryhill wines”. Here are the results of his hours in the kitchen:
- Gooey lamb served in inedible, thick as cardboard, pastry boats
- A “cold pea soup” shooter that tasted like lukewarm green salt water with a couple of sad peas and chives floating in it.
- A cold polenta cube with a slice of rabbit terrine, or sausage,or something. We don’t know what because it tasted sour, as in rancid sour. We spit it out in our napkins
- Pieces of bread with chunks of Oregon Blue cheese on the side. That sure takes technique and imagination to pull off. In addition, there weren’t any toothpicks or anything, so one had to pick up gooey stuck together cheese pieces with your fingers. Why is it someone always wants to shake my hand at these things?
- A salmon and crab roll that was pretty good.
- Some nice little square caramel with fleur de sel.
Overall however, it was pretty lame, and half assed. As a benefit for Mercy Corps, I can understand being a bit understated in order to focus on the “cause.” But ½ the food wasn’t even made or put together; it was nothing more than just sliced and spread, or not even that. The cheese board for example was a table with a few cheeses and some sliced bread. I mean, for free I could just go up the street and eat the samples at Wild Oats.
Pre-openings are a chance for a restaurant to show what they are made of, to make special little things that will wow their diners and hook potential future customers to come back. Nothing and I mean nothing at Terroir showed me that Stu Stein and his wife Mary Hines can cook, that they want to cook, nor that they even care about their food or their customers. I’ll go back when they finally open to the public, but if the the food at this gathering was any indication of future quality, this will be an easy review. (The restaurants at the two extremes are easy, it’s the ones right in the middle that are difficult to write.)