I am eating (mostly) vegetarian lately after coming off a child-centric traveling diet that consisted of far too much beef, burgers, and fried things. Now that I am traveling alone, I am making up for it by consciously seeking out restaurants a picky, pizza-loving 11-year old would avoid like the plague.
Thus, I ended up for a late dinner in Terzo, a farm-to-table chef-driven Italian-inspired restaurant that looked promising.
Upon sitting down, I asked for some sparkling water and bourbon - and was denied a bourbon because the restaurant's bar is limited to wine and beer. No problem. The wine-by-the-glass menu was generous and I settled on a Nero d'Avola that was just fine.
A quick glance at the menu showed that there was many vegetarian or mostly-vegetarian options. I opted for two small plates - the hummus (the waiter singled it out) and the panzanella (I'm a sucker for panzanella). I also ordered a half-portion of the hand-pulled pasta.
The pasta was excellent. It was properly al dente, with a mild pesto, tiny but potent tomatoes, and tiny slivers of romano beans (a flat snap bean) cut on the bias.
The panzanella fell short of excellent because of the unnecessary addition of both goat cheese and black olives, which combined tackled and pummeled the brilliant heirloom tomatoes into submission - the cheese and olives added too much brine and pungency to the salad. Still, I ate every scrap, but I wished either the goat cheese or the olives were not in the mix.
Whereas the panzanella swung too far in the pungent direction, the hummus fell completely flat in the opposite way. Lacking any discernible acid to lighten and brighten it, this chickpea paste was overly thick and leaden. The house made pita that came with it were soggy: limp, useless tools for scooping up the "hummus". I optimistically ate less than a third of it until I concluded that no, really, this was a terrible rendition of a very basic dish.
For dessert, I decided to test the kitchen one more time by choosing the simplest dessert: chocolat chaud. This was served in a demitasse and was excellent, almost redeeming the failed hummus. I almost ordered a second cup, but restrained myself. Best to leave happy and almost full.
The restaurant itself was beautiful. The staff was friendly and service was spot-on: not too fast, not too slow.
Booked via OpenTable.
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