What would a place called Terrebonne, literally meaning "good Earth," be without good food? Thankfully, we'll never know, thanks to the Terrebonne Depot. Terrebonne Depot mixes a farm-to-fork menu, a modern country setting and solid ambiance (wild lavender and a wrap around porch surround the old train depot) to create an experience of enjoying what the "good Earth" has to offer. Located just a few miles north of Redmond, up the road from Smith Rock state park, the restaurant caters to climbers, locals and sightseers with casual elegance and a large menu that pleases large and small appetites.
After a long day at work, two friends and I headed out to Terrebonne Depot having been impressed by lunch there a few weeks earlier. My companion and I enjoyed a few house margaritas and the Oregon farm burger ($12.95). With house-cured pork belly, smoked cheddar, farm-fresh egg, house-made Texas sweet onion barbecue sauce and choice of beef, buffalo or garden burger, this is one of the better burgers I've tasted. Piled high with local ingredients, I couldn't think of anything to add - it was a collection of the best burger toppings on a freshly toasted bun.
For dinner, my two companions and I went a more traditional route with four courses. We started with the calamari ($9.95), which like a Caesar salad, is a nice test of a kitchen's skill. The calamari was pan fried until crispy, but still tender and tossed with greens and sliced jalapenos. With shallot-caper aioli and spicy red pepper dipping sauces, the cool and hot of the dish were both covered.
An excellent option for a lunch entrée or light dinner, the Greek salad ($7.95) combined organic mixed greens, feta, kalamata olives, cucumber, grape tomatoes, red onion and locally raised chicken (add $3.50) in perfect harmony. Thyme-vinaigrette dressing helped to bring the flavors together without overpowering. This local take on Greek salad was well handled.
If there's one criticism I could offer, it would be on the Moroccan couscous ($17.95). You may be thinking $18 for couscous? The name of the entrée doesn't do the dish justice because it comes with a choice of meat - chicken, steak or salmon. I chose the salmon, which came char-broiled, crispy, moist and well seasoned. The Israeli couscous (pearl sized pasta) was seasoned with Moroccan spice (cumin, coriander, black pepper) and sautéed with onion, garlic, tomato and mint. Overall, the dish packed lots of flavor, but I would have enjoyed a stronger vegetable presence (possibly some roasted vegetables) to add a third point of interest to the grain and protein on the plate. The salmon was delicious and although the portion may look small compared to salmon entrees from other restaurants, the flavor was far better than others I've tasted.
My companions chose the barbecue baby back ribs ($17.95) and the New York steak special ($24.95). There was some drama as we waited to hear whether or not there was an order of ribs left, but in the end my friend was not disappointed when the full rack of fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs was presented to her. Basted in a Texas-style vinegar-based barbecue sauce, the ribs were tender, rich and deliciously shiny. My other friend ordered the special of the evening, a 10-ounce N.Y. strip with prawns and chimichurri sauce. The dish was well seasoned and fairly portioned. The meat was slightly overcooked to the desired medium rare, but sides of buttery red skin mashed potatoes and tasty green beans made up for it.
Chef and owner Kristin Yurdin seems to have a solid handle on all aspects of her restaurant. From the cuisine to the staff and the culture of the restaurant, I find that chef-owned establishments really do a better job of connecting with the diner. It's worth noting that we enjoyed dinner on a Monday evening, traditionally the chef's night off. Although Yurdin was not present that evening, you wouldn't know it because sous chef Jim Ricks-White executes food with finesse.
With a quarter of a bottle of Firesteed pinot noir ($29) still to finish, we ordered the chocolate-banana bread pudding ($6.95) for dessert. The generous portion of hot, gooey bread pudding arrived with a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream that didn't have time to melt. Fighting over spoonfuls, we loved the richness of the cooked banana with the smooth, sweetness of the chocolate. The treat was decadent and delicious, reminding us of the craft of dessert making in a recently frozen-yogurt obsessed culture (myself included).
Showcasing flavors from across the Cascade region with an emphasis on local meats and produce, the new American cuisine at Terrebonne Depot lives up to its name, taking what's good from the Earth and putting it on the plate.