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terra mae duckDuck Egg and Leg
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Lamb Chops and Shank Crispy Grit Cakes, Seasonal Vegetables, and House-Made Pepper Sauce
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Appalachian Lunchable Deviled Eggs, Pickled Shrimp, Benne Seed Bacon, Buttermilk Cheddar Pimento Cheese, Pickles, Biscuits, Country Ham, and Chow Chow
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Chef Shelley Cooper with locally sourced marrow bones
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Duck Egg and Leg Baby Greens, Potato Hash, Duck Leg Confit, Poached Egg, and a 3-Mustard Vinaigrette
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Chef Shelley Cooper with locally courced pig ears
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Beer Steamed Clams Crushed Tomatoes, Country Ham, and Cracklin Cornbread
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Chef Shelley Cooper
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Bar Manager Justin Stamper
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nobles goat cheese, Sequatchie cove, and smoked gouda with bacon or rosemary ham
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Mark Oldham, David Mitchell and Mike McJunkin
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Scarlette O'Hara cocktail
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Dining area at TerraMae
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Welcome to TerraMae
Passion is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days when referring to chefs, restaurants and the food they serve. Far too often what is called passion is simply an intense drive for success that ends up simply delivering a “product” from a skilled culinary technician rather than a dish with the heart and soul of a true artisan. Dining at TerraMáe Appalachian Bistro, however, brings true passion on a plate. The food at TerraMáe has both the heart and soul that comes from a careful understanding of the history and flavors of indigenous Appalachian food that has been prepared with the skills and techniques of true culinary artisans.
Located on the first floor of the beautifully renovated Stone Fort Inn, TerraMáe’s warm, yet contemporary decor matches their comfortable twist on regional Appalachian cuisine. It is impossible not to be stricken with the stunning architecture of the space that has been carefully highlighted by the contrasting colors and textures that are your first hint at the owner and staff’s meticulous attention to detail.
That attention to detail and their deep love for the food that is being served is the raison d’être for TerraMáe, which translates seamlessly into a dining experience that can be described as one of, if not the best, in Chattanooga. This is in no small part due to the recent addition of executive chef Shelley Cooper. Cooper replaced outgoing chef Robert Stockwell in February and has created a new menu that maintains TerraMáe’s unflinching commitment to regional ingredients and farm-to-table philosophy while bringing her own elevated twist on indigenous Appalachian flavors to Chattanooga. Cooper’s credentials are impressive—her experiences range from holding top positions at the DiRoNA-awarded 30 Degree Blue, downtown L.A.’s First & Hope and restaurants in New Zealand and Alaska, to working closely with the father of elevated low-country cuisine, Louis Osteen—but the food is what matters, and Cooper’s food is spectacular.
The dinner menu is divided into small, medium, large and “sharable” plate sections. I began my meal from the small plates section with Beer Steamed Clams and Cracklin’ Cornbread. Presented in the same cast-iron serving dish it was cooked in, this dish masterfully combines smoky ham, sweet cipollini onions and mildly acidic tomatoes with tender, mellow clams that pair perfectly alongside the slightly sweet cracklin’ cornbread dotted with crispy pork cracklins.
We then moved on to the medium-sized plates, deciding on the Appalachian Lunchable and Duck Egg and Leg. The Appalachian Lunchable is a stunning assortment of viands that includes creamy buttermilk pimento cheese, soft rosemary biscuits and country ham, deviled eggs, an assortment of house-made pickled veggies and several strips of benne seed bacon that is everything crispy, Bentons bacon should be—indescribably delicious. The Duck Egg and Leg was my favorite dish of the evening. Deep and rich duck leg confit sat atop delicate mixed baby greens and sweet potato hash alongside cipollini onions and a poached egg whose golden yolk provides a heavenly natural sauce that will cause involuntary eye closure and quivers of delight.
The “sharable” portion of the menu offers a platter of two, double rib lambchops and a full lamb shank served with seasonal vegetables, house-made mint pepper sauce and two goat cheese grit cakes that are crispy on the outside while retaining the creaminess and tartness of the goat cheese in the middle. I could have made a meal from those grit cakes alone.
The restaurant’s commitment to regional and locally sourced ingredients is no marketing ploy. Seasonal, regional and locally sourced ingredients are at the heart of every dish and even the drinks coming from the imagination of bar manager Justin Stamper. Stamper flinches at the term mixologist, instead preferring to focus on the ingredients, flavors and techniques of classic cocktail culture.
“I want to take all of the beautiful ingredients from the farms, all of the sunshine, air and natural resources and funnel it into a glass,” Stamper said. Creating his own juices, infusions and even his own ginger beer, he eschews the manufactured syrups and refined sugar used by other bartenders. The results are distinct cocktails and unique libations that compliment TerraMáe’s comforting comestibles to a tee. Of course, there is also a thoughtfully curated wine and beer selection to suit every taste, whether it be a Chateau Mouiex Bordeaux or a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel high-gravity ale.
Bryan Miller of The New York Times once said, “The qualities of an exceptional cook are akin to those of a successful tightrope walker: an abiding passion for the task, courage to go out on a limb and an impeccable sense of balance.” I believe that describes dining at TerraMáe perfectly.
• Mike McJunkin loves low-country, locally sourced food and craft beers. Catch him eating everything but the kitchen sink in and around Chattanooga.
TerraMáe Appalachian Bistro
120A E. 10th St. • (423) 710-2925 • terramae.org
Monday-Saturday • Lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. • Dinner: 5-10 p.m.
Wine & Beer Specials
- Monday nights, bottles of wine are half price
- Tuesday nights feature beer pairings with Chattanooga Brewery Beers