Four Courses @ Terra, St. Helena

There’s no possible way that I could ever review Terra in St. Helena without heavy bias: I know too many people in that restaurant — from the kitchen, to the GM, to the waitstaff — to maintain any semblance of impartiality. For similar reasons, I can’t really offer my unbiased opinions about Martini House, Auberge du Soleil, or Etoile at Domain Chandon, either. Of the people whom I know socially in the Napa Valley, most of them work at either of these three restaurants. But despite these personal connections, I don’t think there’s much harm in showing some pictures from my latest dinner at Terra. If you’re looking for a short and impartial review of Terra, I’ll have to defer to my own personal hero, LA Weekly food-critic Jonathan Gold.

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Foie Gras on Crostini: This amuse was garnished with cocoa nibs, black cherry, rhubarb compote, one tiny mint leaf, and of course, the bright yellow foie gras fat-cap from the terrine itself.

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Tuna Tartare: Frozen shavings of miso-cured foie gras adorn the tuna tartare on avocado. The bkack-and-white sesame chips featured the taste and texture of crispy wonton wrappers.

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Green Garlic Soup: One of the great surprises of the night, garnished with a deep-fried oyster that featured an incredibly briny component. I said I would try not to show my biases, but this dish was terrific.

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Seared Black Cod with Shrimp Wontons in Shiso Broth: This umami-bomb is the signature dish at Terra, and one of the few times that fish can out-duel pork on a menu. Killer in the summertime, as you might imagine.

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