Underground life carries an alluring mystique -- Bilbo Baggins' sweet hobbit-hole was rife with secret passages and hidden treasures, and mummies spend eternity in their crypts...unless you take the jade monkey. For an underground drinking and dining experience, try terra.
Tucked beneath the somewhat-secret Tavern on Camac, terra rocks low exposed beam ceilings and dark wood walls interspersed with exposed brick, imbuing the 32-seat dining room with a distinct "member's lodge" feel, while wraparound banquettes, in-wall wine racks and a low-lit 10-stool bar evoke heavy vibes of an old-time speakeasy, which if it's any good, should be called a speakslurry. Conceived by a former chef from Slate and Lolita, the menu's heavy on locally sourced ingredients and straddles the line between adventurous and familiar, starting with small plates like seared black cod in rosemary almond purée, olive oil & red shiso; a cheeseburger/Cubano/lamb slider trio; prosciutto pizza w/ fig, red pepper pesto & balsamic drizzle; and spinach, roasted peppers & fried egg on flatbread colloquially known as either "hoecake" or "no cake"...so yeah, "hoecake". Entrees run from sea-dwellers like pan seared scallops w/ goat cheese polenta & mushroom sauté, and seared tuna in celeriac purée w/ pistachio brown butter, to meatier fare like grilled beef tenderlion w/ fried mashed potatoes & red pepper pesto, lamb shank braised in Blithering Idiot, and an acorn squash hotpot w/ udon noodles & shaved duck breast, although he gets let off the hook on that one, because he's a swimmer.
Along with a full stock of hard stuff, the bar's experimenting with a small, craft-centric bottled beer list that currently includes Chimay, Left Hand BlackJack Porter, and Legacy Hedonism -- but could you really blame the mummy when you're entombed for eternity with mad ladies in waiting?
Published: September 10, 2009 at 4:00am EDT
243 S Camac St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Be the first to know about the newest restaurants, bars, & events in your hood.