Terre a Terre welcomes Spring by leaving Italy, and jumping over the border where Southern France is the inspiration for Chef Todd Villani’s next menu.
When springtime comes, the air is scented with warm rain and fresh vegetation. Nowhere is this truer than in France. The metropolitan areas, already bustling, get an extra shot of energy as young and old alike come out to revel in the sunshine. The countryside wakes up, too, as giddy livestock trot off their cabin fever and farmers prepare in earnest for the growing season ahead.
Because French cuisine is based largely on seasonal foods, the classic French kitchen gets a creative awakening in the spring.
The lengths at which Chef Todd Villani and his team go to ensure that everything is sourced as locally as possible has become a part of the culinary folklore of NJ. Where others make a call asking if something is local, Todd, and very often his business partner Lisa, make the journey to the farm, ranch, or food crafter personally to guarantee that everything is the best there is.
Growing up in New Jersey, Villani has seen much of the the Garden State go from wide open spaces and small family owned agricultural operations, to endless suburban sprawl. By finding, and supporting, local growers, that acreage stands a much greater chance of remaining green. It also mean that patrons of his Bergen County restaurant get the freshest food possible. The passion for local is more than just meat and vegetables, someday soon we’ll share the story of local salt.
Always looking for ways to break new ground (farming pun most assuredly intended), Chef Villani’s new menu will use ingredients sourced locally to capture the genuine flavors of France. France is a diverse, vibrant country, and has given us Le Concorde, Brigitte Bardot, and the Macaron. Too often in the Garden State, “French” food is thought of as too high brow for commoners like us, but that misperception is all wrong. French cuisine is known for using every bit of what is locally available in season – just like Terre a Terre. It is very much a cuisine of the people!
Located in Carlstadt, Terre a Terre is a surprise from the moment you first pull off the freeway and drive the narrow streets of the borough that were obviously laid out in the era before automobiles. Carlstadt was actually organized by German immigrants in the 1860s and little details and motifs of that heritage can be seen here and there around town. Renovations and restorations have changed parts of Hackensack Street but those old values of hard work, passion for a job well done, and using the best resources around are everywhere, especially at Terre a Terre. Chef Todd Villani’s vision combines the best elements of local and seasonal market bounties and presents them in an environment the echoes a fresh approach to reduce, reuse, recycle.
Terre a Terre has is one of the Garden State’s most acclaimed restaurants with glowing reviews from the New York Times, The Record of Bergen County, and numerous other culinary media outlets. Chef Todd Vilanni’s restaurant received 3.5 stars in New Jersey Monthly in 2014 – the first restaurant in several years to achieve such a high rating.
Terre à Terre
312 Hackensack Street
Carlstadt, New Jersey 07072
Lunch – Wednesday – Friday from noon – 2:30 p.m.
Dinner Wednesday – Saturday from 5:30 – 10:00 p.m.
Brunch is served on Sunday from 11:00 – 2:30 p.m.
(but the food is so good you can enjoy it without the buzz!)
Note: New Jersey Restaurants are permitted to sell NJ wines. It is the Garden State after all and promoting agriculture will prevent more of the state from turning into condo farms. Terre a Terre offers Unionville Wines.