terra malibu = disappointing
went to terra in malibu to try something new. it was totally fine - but also disappointing.
first off - the entrance is just strange. when we entered the enclosed patio area (which is the front door) there was a small party going on in that room and it was a bit like - "oh, sorry for walking into your party". but - then you enter another door and it is the bar area. this area is very dull and has a few scattered tall tables/chairs on square terra cotta tile. it is noisy because it is right by the kitchen and the tile. someone found us and told us our table would be ready soon. we sat down, ordered a beer.
we were then seated in the dining room. this area was nice but the seats were a bit too close b/c there was no music. so we could hear everyone near us and it was a little annoying.
the menu was uninspired, at best. soups - french onion and squash cream; apps - gorgonzola tart; spinach/candied pecan/gorganzola salad, antipasti, cheese plate with candied kumquat and crostini, roasted vegetable with a grilled cheese and crostini.
the entrees were ok - an austrailian sea bass; albacore with black rice; roasted 1/2 chicken with mushrooms, shrimp and fettucini with garlic, tomates, olive oil, garlic, white wine; flat iron steak with garlic/gorgonzola fries; risotto with mushrooms; short rib.
we ordered the flat iron steak, the albacore, and french onion soup.
they started with an amuse - potato pancake, salmon and creme fraiche. this was good. tasted just like a hash brown - no flavor of the salmon or creme fraiche.
the french oinion soup was awful. it was served in a square bowl with the toasted bread topped with gruyere on the side. the soup was lukewarm. it was more like an onion stew than a soup. it was just entirely a bowl filled with grilled onions in a bit of beef broth. the flavor was entirely absent. it really didn't taste like much which is sad b/c usually this is a great dish.
the albacore was overcooked. it was supposed to be seared - but it was cooked about 2/3 through. the sauce was slightly creamy and had a yellow color which was unappetizing. but this tasted fine - other than the overcooked part. the black rice was not seasoned and did not taste like much.
the steak was the best dish. the fries were quite good at first - but the fries on the bottom were not cooked through. so while the seasoning - garlic, gorgonzola, salt - was fine - eating a raw potato is not great. the steak was good. it was basically seared and sliced into strips with a red wine reduction sauce. tasty - but nothing new. a few pieces were a bit fatty or had a lot of gristle.
the staff was friendly - if not a bit strange. one of the waitresses reset the table next to us for about 5 minutes - looking at it to see if everything was right. our waiter woudl whisk, talk very lightly and then disappear. i had a few questions, but he sort of just cut me off at the first one as if that answered everything. it was rather curt.
we did not stay for dessert.
overall - i was expecting a bit more. i guess this is ok as a neighborhood place (i'd rather stay home and cook for myself), but not a place to go for a destination.