It is the nature of human beings to want what they can't have. Take breakfast, for example. How often have you been struck with a red-hot desire for eggs Benedict or buckwheat pancakes at 2 in the afternoon? Or, inversely, craved a Reuben sandwich at 8:30 a.m.? You probably don't want to make these dishes yourself, but most restaurants aren't interested in catering to renegade diners.
Yet even renegades need a little love now and then, and they'll find it in spades at The Terrace restaurant in the Town & County Village shopping center. Generously accepting of the fickleness of the human appetite, owners Margo and Michael Powers offer an extensive breakfast and lunch menu all day, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. That means you can plow through a hunk of blackened salmon or a plate of thinly sliced carpaccio as soon as you leap out of bed in the morning. Breakfast in the late afternoon sounded better to me, and I can say with certainty that The Terrace's fluffy blueberry pancakes (with eggs and bacon, of course) tasted fabulous' and, yes, slightly naughty' the day I devoured them at 2:30 p.m.
Regardless of your meal selection, you'll enjoy The Terrace's peaceful, gracious dining area. The walls are painted a calming, light moss green, and the burnt-orange floors are mottled and glossy. Jaunty sprigs of mint in tiny vases adorn white linen-draped tables, and delicate pendant light fixtures dangle prettily from the ceiling. Large windows overlook a charming little patio with a fountain. Modern art adorns the walls and lazy jazz softens the ambiance, inviting you to stretch out your legs and order a glass of wine (or orange juice, as the case may be).
The restaurant has a very ambitious menu, considering it offers two meals simultaneously. Breakfast fare includes omelets, frittatas (such as the gorgeous crimini mushroom and spinach frittata), sourdough French toast and pancakes. The eggs Benedict, which appear on the Sunday brunch menu, are stellar, swathed in a sassy, smooth hollandaise. If you have a trucker's appetite, order the buttery housemade biscuits drenched in Italian sausage-flecked gravy or the eggs, any style, served over a pan-seared New York steak.
Lunch entries range from goat-cheese-stuffed portobello mushrooms and sesame-crusted ahi tuna to linguine with tiger prawns. The sturdy meatloaf is a great choice if you're famished: Plopped in a brightly flavored pool of tomato sauce, the slabs of tender meat are accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes. The jambalaya (prepared, interestingly, with basmati rice) is the shining star of the menu. Freckled with tiny chunks of chicken, slices of spicy andouille sausage and fat prawns, it was a rustic jumble of goodness. Not nearly as successful was an herb-rubbed New York steak sandwich, smothered with softly sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions. While the flavors were right on, the meat was extraordinarily gristly and tough, making the dish virtually inedible.
Sandwiches include barbecue pulled pork, piled on focaccia bread with caramelized apples and grilled red onions, and a saltily appealing (and jaw-stretching) club sandwich. The Sac Valley baby greens salad was tossed in a bacon-sage dressing and sprinkled with goat cheese, green apple slices and dried cranberries. The Cobb salad, another good choice, was quite handsome and hearty, and while I don't think I could eat it for breakfast, I'd certainly order it again for lunch.
The major snafu I encountered at The Terrace was consistently uneven service. Waiters, though pleasant and welcoming, were slow to take our orders and never checked back during the meal to see how things were going. Our waters were not refilled, and the general lack of attentiveness was irksome. Dishes often came out piece by piece, and one afternoon a dining companion's meal arrived a full 10 minutes after everyone else's.
While it may take some patience to dine at The Terrace, its convenient location and whimsy-indulging menu make it a pretty compelling dining destination. Where else can you order a pile of fried calamari and a sirloin burger with fries at 8 in the morning?