By Kim Fuller Published for the Vail Vitality Center
New menu highlights small tastes and shared plates.
With the bright new season, Terra Bistro has completely transformed its entire menu format. The restaurant has abandoned the only starter-to-main-course routine, and replaced it with more than 20 small to medium-sized plates.
The new menu style will help diners to step out of their comfort zone a bit, because they no one has to commit to a single dish. Small plates gives every guest more opportunity to explore their personal palate.
“We’re hopeful that the abundance of truly inspired small tastes will encourage guests to be more adventurous than they typically care when they are committing to one large entrée,” explained Kevin Nelson, Terra Bistro managing partner.
The restaurant still prides itself in serving health-conscious cuisine. Nelson said the definition of “healthy food” has changed over the years. The dishes at Terra Bistro now embrace proteins and natural fats — more than when the restaurant opened more than 24 years ago.
“We simply focus on whole foods, natural foods and organic foods in our recipes made from scratch,” he said. “But to be honest, all high-end restaurants these days are pretty much doing the same, because that’s where the quality ingredients are.”
Nelson said Shawn Miller, Terra Bistro’s executive chef, has “really hit it out of the park this time.”
“Some of the small plates I’m torn between are the chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates wrapped with pancetta and served with peppadew sauce, or the shark tacos, which are two small corn tortillas filled with zesty grilled fish, pickled onion, avocado aioli, cilantro and chiles, or the slow roasted pork belly with heavy herb rub, fav beans, pea tendrils, and 25-year balsamic vinegar, or the buffalo style pork skins …”
So good, he could go on and on.
“That’s right, it’s like pork rinds, but made from duck and dressed with the best buffalo sauce I have every tasted,” Nelson said, also explaining why he adapted a more modern definition of “healthy.”
Nelson said the stand-out medium and large plate are the pan roasted cod with a pea and prosciutto pancake, watercress puree, asparagus and maitake mushroom, or the gnocchi with Colorado lamb ragu, or the chicken Ballotine, served with potato puree, baby carrots, and chicken demi-glace.
One of the best elements of Terra’s new menu format is that guests don’t have to come to Terra Bistro just for a special occasion.
“Everything is served as it’s ready, so the structure of the coursed-out appetizer then entrée isn’t there to drag out the process,” Nelson said. “If you want to share and explore the menu all night, we’ll keep a steady flow of fantastic food and drink coming your way.”
Here’s a look at Terra Bistro’s new menu: