The Terrace2673 El Paseo Ln.
Sacramento, CA 95821
Truth be told, I don’t find myself at Town & Country Village shopping center very often. It kind of reminds me of my grandmother, who lived and shopped (those, for her, were pretty much one concept) about a block from an extremely similar shopping center. Town & Country seems to have a lot of little fancyish stores that sell doodads and high-end thingamabobs, and some restaurants and now, apparently, a made-over section of even fancier doodad purveyors called The Collection, which sounds foolishly snooty for something that is, after all, at the corner of Fulton and Marconi avenues—not, say, on Fifth Avenue or something.
Anyway, should you be a person who shops and ends up peckish at the breakfast or lunch hour, The Collection now has collected unto itself a new restaurant, called, with a certain symmetry, The Terrace. It has an outdoor area for dining—overlooking, unfortunately, a large parking lot, and I believe the side of William Glen’s building—which seems like it might be a little warm in summer (all that pavement reflecting), but it does seem to have both misters and heat lamps to regulate things. Inside, things are quiet and spacious, with white tablecloths (topped by glass) and a subdued taupe color scheme, with ladylike, brocaded brown-on-brown banquettes. The cutest decorative touch is tiny vases with perky fresh herb sprigs rather than flowers.
The restaurant has been made over by Michael and Margo Powers, who also do catering, and it’s a breakfast- and lunch-only affair, open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.—probably a smart choice, given the location. Executive chef Bradley Koudela has put together an appealing menu of salads, chi-chi sandwiches, pastas and some mains, like jambalaya, pan-roasted pesto salmon or portobello mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese; breakfast offers basics—Denver omelet, blueberry pancakes, biscuits and gravy—plus some slightly fancier options, like crimini mushroom and spinach frittata, a wrap with sausage, eggs and cilantro.
We stopped in for breakfast early on a recent morning and had the place to ourselves, at least for a while. We started off, naturally, with coffee; the brewed was strong and smooth, but an espresso drink (a double cappuccino) weak. I tried the Terrace omelet, with applewood bacon, tomatoes, avocado and cheddar—a lavish combination with a custardy texture to the eggs, though they were a little weepy and watery. The avocado tasted a little overripe, but the bacon had a nice punch and there was plenty of cheese. The accompanying potatoes were excellent, done in the home-fries style with red potatoes—a risky choice for a restaurant, I always feel. All too often, the red potatoes can be undercooked or not crisply browned—a sad problem—but these were crunchy outside, soft within and savory with a tangle of caramelized onions. Yum. It also came with sourdough toast; the bread was not of great quality (fluffy, bland), but the housemade strawberry jam tasted bright, fresh and lovely.
My husband tried the wrap, which came in a red pepper tortilla; I’m often wary of flavored tortillas, but this one nicely complemented the colorful, hearty mix inside. It came with a small salad. The kids’ pancake we tried was your basic pancake—big and pillowy—but the two sunny-side-up eggs alongside were quite undercooked. I’m all for a runny yolk, but when the egg white on top is still clear and liquid, that seems excessive.
On a lunchtime visit, things were more enjoyable all around. The “Sac Valley baby greens” salad was lightly dressed and harmoniously flavored, with a sprinkling of goat cheese, green apples, a few dried cranberries, toasty walnuts and an understated bacon-sage dressing that let the fresh greens shine through. A pasta special with lamb and asparagus, a light cream sauce and a jumble of colorful, complementary veggies tasted fresh and springlike. The lamb was in slightly chewy little chunks, the asparagus bright green and crisp tender, and the pasta just right and al dente.
My ahi tuna sandwich, described as pan-seared and medium rare, came on a rather too squishy, uninteresting roll (with our fine local bakeries, there is really no excuse for bad mass-produced bread). The tuna was less seared than crusted with bread crumbs and sesame and fried; it was just medium rare in the center, which was tasty. A lighter hand with the spicy mustard would have let its flavors shine through a little more, but I liked the crunchy Napa cabbage and pickle it came with. There was a choice of fries or salad, and I’m only human: The fries were salty, crunchy, and very good.
The Terrace is a little on the pricey side for lunch, but it’s just what a shopper might like for a little midday refreshment; I had a delicious glass of iced tea, with a Meyer lemon slice, to revivify myself. If you find yourself at The Collection, The Terrace is a pretty good lunch bet.