Terra Bistro | VailDaily.com

Terra Bistro

The Israeli couscous salad is toothsome, a nice contrast to the silky lamb.

Terra Bistro has always been veggie-friendly, but they also serve terrific meat dishes. The restaurant is known as a nourishing oasis for people who want to enjoy a good meal. Executive chef Kevin Nelson just doesn’t go about it in the expected way.

“We don’t believe the evil things are fat and carbs,” said Nelson. “Food is fuel for your body, and the quality of the fuel you put in determines what you get out of it. Artificial ingredients and chemicals and unnatural preservatives ” those are evil.”

Lamb seems made for big, exotic spices. Terra’s rack of lamb is rubbed with coriander, cumin and curry. Pan seared, a savory crust develops on the envelope of fat that protects the organic meat. It tastes naughty and irresistible, especially when daubed with the homemade apricot marmalade. But it’s the curried lamb jus that will stay with you. Getting a kick from figs and espresso, the deeply flavored sauce brings dark soul to the plate.

The saffron-orange-citrus broth of the caldo del mar almost ” but not quite ” makes the seafood superfluous. White shrimp, sea scallops and Prince Edward Island mussels swim in the fish fumet, enhanced with garlic and caribe chilies. It comes with a crisp slice of bread, but do yourself a favor and ask for more right off the bat ” you’ll want to keep dipping them in that broth.

The starters are fun and thoughtful. Sweet potato ravioli with crumbles of gorgonzola, caramelized ginger shrimp and cucumber salsa, tempura ahi with sticky rice ” you could make a meal of them. And some people do. Terra also hosts “Appy Hour,” a $5 apps menu that packs the bar.

Dinner is a given, but the 1,000-year breakfast is worth checking out. Everything served is made from ingredients that were around a thousand years ago. Whole grains, eggs, fish ” they become such delightful treats as a quinoa sweet roll and a smoked salmon platter with flatbread.

Support Local Journalism