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December 12, 2013- By Steven E. Greer MD
I was getting some exercise and walked by Terra wine bar at 222 West Broadway, by Franklin Street. It opened just a month or so ago in the triangular space of the building.
The outdoor Christmas lights were nice, so I peeked in, not planning on eating. The place was packed.
In an impulsive move, I sat by the window and ordered two courses.
I ordered as a starter the mushroom pizza from the $10 section of the menu. It was well made, crispy, flavorful, fresh. Looking around at nearby diners, the other $10 selections looked like genuine Italian courses (see menu below).
For the entree, I ordered the super expensive spaghetti and meatballs from the lengthy selection of items for $12. The pasta was clearly made fresh and to the proper “al dente”. The meatballs were ample in size and tender. For $12, I was prepared for the worst, but the dish was pretty tasty.
Overall, the menu is really a Spanish tapas concept almost, in an Italian wine bar. If the menu had been the usual $30 pasta, I would have walked out.
The layout of the place cleverly maximizes the space. Rather than a cold and distancing typical bar counter, the “bar” is a dining table with seats all around. The tables and seats on the perimeter of the restaurant have nice window views.
The success of Terra comes from them knowing their identity and not trying to be something that they are not. The low-priced, nice quality, menu meets a demand Downtown. The world does not need another pretentious Locanda Verde that serves $80 raviolis.
The casual nature of Terra creates a slightly more interesting crowd than one would find at a more formal expensive restaurant. However, it does not feel like a bar at all. You won’t be seated next to drunk dudes who think they are in a fraternity still. It was mostly young or middle-aged professionals the night I was there.
Owner Roberto Passon happened to be in the house and took us on a tour of the kitchen downstairs (which is nice and clean). Next to it is a special events party room.
Terra has no website yet, so the menu is not online, which makes our photo of the menu an “exclusive” bit of reporting. Give them a call (212) 625-0900.