Nestled on a corner property of a bustling street in southern Bergen County is a cozy restaurant dedicated to bringing farm-to-table goodness – in the most legitimate of ways – to folks eager to enjoy an authentic, local and seasonal dining experience.
The restaurant is Terre à Terre, in Carlstadt, and the chef/owner is Todd Villani.
The names should, considering the ample buzz and well-deserved fanfare they’ve recently received throughout the Bergen County foodie community.
At a press tasting held on Earth Day, fellow bloggers and food journalists were treated to a vibrant culinary journey, resplendent with fresh-picked flavors. We were even able to integrate with a few of the restaurant’s partner network of farmers and artisan food producers, including Anthony Bracco of Bracco Farms and Scott Ketchum and Steve Gonzalez of Brooklyn’s Sfoglini Pasta Shop.
Part of us hearing from these trusted partners was to underscore Chef Villani’s unwavering commitment to “keeping the small man in business” while also helping shift the fast food paradigm by promoting and preserving sustainable, local food production in the great Garden State.
“Our commitment is to stay as local as possible,” said Villiani. “So our menu not only keeps pace with the changing seasons but our selection of farms and food producers also shift with the seasons.”
Let’s talk about that Spring Menu. Where to begin?
There was the straight-from-the-farm mixed raw beet and beet confit salad, complete with Flint Hill Farm fromage blanc mousse, smoked almonds and baby farm lettuce. And the smokey lump crab cakes with pistachio, pickled fennel bulb, heirloom carrots and ramp aioli.
But the seconds kept me talking for weeks and weeks.
I’m not partial to lamb. However in Chef Villani’s capable hands, I’m a BIG fan of lamb. And with good reason. His lamb is pure bred – literally – sourced from internationally acclaimed Chef Thomas Keller and Keith Martin’s Elysian Fields Farm hailing from Waynesburg, PA. The lamb, bred and raised under exceptional conditions and fed only natural grains without the use of hormones or growth stimulants, brings a superior quality of meat. And when served scented with lavender in chop form or ground and tossed with Sfoglini small-batch Pasta in a ragu, the lamb is absolutely exceptional. Don’t miss it!
Desserts are prepared on premise with emphasis on house-made classics like crème brulee and bread pudding. In keeping with its commitment to serve “local,” the restaurant also gets its bread from a local artisan bakery (the pretzel rolls were just delightful!).
With the warm weather officially here, diners will have the chance to fully enjoy Terre à Terre’s outdoor garden courtyard. Keep an eye out for the vertical edible garden – a collaboration with the Carlstadt Green Team: a community of volunteers registered with Sustainable New Jersey.
About Terre à Terre
With nearly 50 seats, a private dining area and outdoor garden, the Chef’s Table, which offers a multi-course gourmand tasting menu, Terre à Terre provides dining from Wednesday through Saturday 5:30pm-10:00pm and on Sunday for brunch 11:00am-2:30pm. In addition to private parties, the restaurant also does catering.
Lisa Pisano is a Bergen-county based lifestyle blogger, PR/Social Media consultant and content director. Her love and appreciation of food began at an early age, in the kitchen of her Italian-American home, and then extended to a fascination and enjoyment of all things foodie as an adult. Food is very much a central part of Lisa’s personal life — from partaking in culinary vacations and walking tours to dining throughout the NY/NJ Metro Area and developing original recipes. Professionally, she’s worked as the first in-house PR Manager of Manhattan’s Institute of Culinary Education and has provided consulting and content creation to food websites and restaurants. Lisa brings her passion for food, fashion, family and pop culture to life through her blog,mom a la mode. Follow Lisa on Twitter @momalamode and onFacebook.com/momalamode.