Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Terra-Waconia is a winner, winner, winner!
by Charlie Leck

The first reviews are in on Terra-Waconia, a recently opened restaurant at 140 West Main Street, in downtown Waconia, and those reviews are very, very good. The idea here is farm to table cuisine and they mean farms in the immediate area, not ones on the other side of the state or in bordering states. We’ve heard from some people who really liked it and recommended it to us. So, we tried it and declare it an absolute winner.

Lake Minnetonka Magazine gave it a top-notch review, calling in the best local restaurant in the region. They called it a “charmingly quaint place,” that “will give you a fine dining experience done in a small town way.” I don’t think the magazine goes far enough in its praise. When the food is presented to you, you’ll know this is much more than a quaint spot. It reminded me of dining in Provence or Normandy. As in those regions in France, the menu at Terra-Waconia is small so that the chef can concentrate on quality.

We stopped in for a weekday lunch. A waitress pointed to a chalkboard, similar to ones I’ve seen in many small, French restaurants in Alsace, Burgundy and Auvergne, and told us that was the menu. I went for the mussels as a starter and they dazzled even me, a guy who considers himself an expert on that particular dish. The sauce was effectively peppery, with just a touch of bite and amazing flavor. There were crispy green peas and capers in the slightly thick sauce that was the highlight of the lunch. The mussels were followed by a Lola Rosa Salad with bits of crisp, local bacon and a light vinaigrette dressing touched with a mild flavor of local rhubarb. The lettuce selection was scrumptious and the sweet, small, honey tomatoes were a perfect touch.

Last weekend the restaurant served lamb shanks from Sheepy Hollow as a featured item and we chatted with the head chef, Craig Sharp, about them. He told us they were an absolute hit and the most popular item on the weekend’s evening menu. Also from Sheepy Hollow, the restaurant served a lamb live pâté and skewered pieces of mutton on the weekend menu as well.

The rumor is that we are going to be reading a bang-up, positive review in the next issue of Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine.

I promise you, you’ll enjoy a luncheon or dinner stop at Terra-Waconia (952-442-3353)

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