#169 – Terrace on Peachtree at the Ellis Hotel – Local, Sustainable Fine Dining Fare – My New Favorite Atlanta Restaurant May Become Yours, Too!
My husband and I had an incredible opportunity to preview the menus at Terrace on Peachtree for Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week last week. We were hosted by Chef Thomas McKeown and manager Adam Hampton and enjoyed a fantastic dinner on the second story patio overlooking Peachtree Street (please forgive my photos of the food – we sat outside in low light!). I can honestly say I have a new favorite restaurant in Atlanta.
We were impressed from the moment we walked into Terrace. It’s a small restaurant inside the historic Ellis Hotel, seating only 44 in the winter months, with 16 to 18 additional patio seats when weather permits. Chef Thomas McKeown, who came to Atlanta from Limerick, Ireland, (and who was hired at Terrace as Executive Sous Chef but after just one week was promoted to Executive Chef) told us, “Most locals don’t even know we’re here.” But I think they soon will, especially once word gets out about the chef’s impressive commitment to and passion for using local and sustainable products in his kitchen.
We were able to sample some delicious fare that appears on the brand new seasonal menu (debuted just last week!) as well as on the Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week menu (Terrace on Peachtree is featuring two different prix fixe menus for Restaurant Week, July 26-August 8, 2010 – a $25 menu and a $35 menu). We started the meal with a colorful and delicious Local Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, made with tomatoes from local farmers and fresh mozzarella from Atlanta Fresh Artisan Creamery. We then sampled creamy, peppery Local Summer Squash Risotto topped with a Farm Fresh Poached Egg. To finish off our starters, we tried Local White Corn Bisque with corn from south Georgia and herb oil. I could easily have stopped there – well, with two or three more servings of the tomato salad and the risotto! Our entrees are featured on the $35 menu for Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week, but are also on the regular seasonal menu right now: Seared North Atlantic Scallops with creamy heritage farro, grilled corn, crispy Pine Street Market bacon, with a citrus reduction, and Grass-Fed Flat Iron Steak, with Boulangere potatoes, creamed native corn, and a house-made steak sauce. The scallops were quite likely the best I’ve ever had – absolutely melt-in-your-mouth perfect.
For dessert, at the chef’s recommendation, we had the cheese plate, which featured Gouda from Flat Creek Lodge in Swainsboro, Georgia and Bleu Cheese and Holly Springs Aged Goat from Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, Georgia, along with Savannah Honeycomb, Fernwood Thicket Farms Elderberry Preserves, and Holman and Finch breads. The desserts for Restaurant Week include one that sounds particularly delectable to me: Buttermilk Panna Cotta with blueberry compote and vanilla tuile; however, I’ve also been told that the Espresso Crème Brulee is to die for!
With plenty of vegetarian options, too, there is something for everyone on Terrace’s menu, which changes seasonally since Chef McKeown shops locally as much as possible, mainly at Peachtree Road and Morningside Farmers’ Markets. To view Terrace’s current menus, you can visit their website – since the menu changes with the season, they’re constantly updated. Terrace also features full breakfast and lunch menus, because after all, they are also serving the Ellis Hotel guests. But don’t think that they’re only there to serve the out-of-towners and businesspeople who come into town for stays at the Ellis – it’s a perfect spot for locals, with a cozy bar area, wonderful fine fare, and a chef who is making a name for himself here in Atlanta.