The next concept in chef Tyler Anderson’s portfolio is billed as “Cal-Italian.” Terreno is now open at The Goodwin Hotel in Hartford, representing a refresh at the historic boutique hotel’s restaurant space.
Anderson and his team closed The Goodwin’s Restaurant Porrón on Feb. 3 and spent a week transitioning to the new approach, which takes its name from the Italian word for “ground.” Terreno’s menu is Italian-influenced, with fresh pastas and Sicilian-style pizzettes joining entrees like roasted chicken, baked salmon and a classic cheeseburger.
The Spanish-inspired Porrón launched in April 2018 at the hotel, featuring a menu of tapas, paella and a “ham bar” with sliced-to-order Spanish jamón. But after about a year, Anderson says, he realized the menu, heavy on shareable plates, may not have been particularly friendly to business diners, which made up a significant percentage of the restaurant’s clientele.
He began working on plans for what would become Terreno, pulling in influence from his California childhood as well as the food he came to love after marrying his wife Melanie Stepka in 2018, who comes from an Italian family.
“I’ve been obsessed with Italian food for the last year, but [Terreno’s] got a very American twist,” he says. “It’s definitely inspired by Italy, with all the pastas, the pizzas, the flavor profiles, but mostly it’s inspired by the simplicity and the focus on just to make the food delicious. … if it’s not delicious, it doesn’t go on the menu.”
ATMOSPHERE: The team has made “very little” cosmetic change to the Mediterranean-style space, as “it already feels like Italy,” Anderson told The Courant at the end of January. Bar Piña, its sister bar at the hotel, remains the same, with some updated cocktails. It will continue to operate as a coffee shop with craft doughnuts in the morning hours.
FEATURED/NOTEWORTHY DISHES: Terreno’s starters ($7 to $18) include snacks and small plates like roasted olives, raw oysters, tuna crudo with brown butter soy, pork and veal meatballs and meat and cheese boards, served with pickles and mostarda. Duck legs, a best-selling tapa-style plate at Porron, have stuck around on the new menu, with saba, spiced yogurt, pistachio and mint.
Pizzettes ($8 to $12) are built on thick focaccia made in house at Anderson’s Square Peg Pizzeria in Glastonbury and loaded up with toppings like winter squash with pistachio; braised beef; sopressata with burrata and basil; and ricotta with black truffle. Salads ($11) include Terreno’s take on a Waldorf with grapes, walnuts and apples; a kale Caesar with chickpeas and wild arugula with dry berries.
Housemade pastas are produced in house at Hamilton Park, the bistro Anderson and team operate at The Blake Hotel in New Haven. These include gnocchi a la vodka, rigatoni Genovese with braised beef, and butternut agnolotti (available in two sizes; $11 and $12 for the smaller portion and $22 to $24 for large.) Other pasta dishes feature shrimp scampi and spaghetti and meatballs ($19 to $24.)
Entrees ($16 to $28) range from comfortable to upscale, like a double cheeseburger with crispy cheddar, roasted chicken with salsa verde and winter vegetables, cauliflower “under a brick” with Meyer lemon and sunchoke purees, swordfish piccata and stuffed quails with foie gras, apple and celery slaw.
Terreno also features “simply grilled” steaks and chops ($25 to $48), including grass-fed hanger steak, Wagyu sirloin, barrel-cut filet mignon, a prime NY strip and a double-cut Berkshire pork chop, served with a choice of sauce.
“I spent some time in butcher shops in Italy, and steak is such a huge part of their culture that it just felt like a natural tie-in,” Anderson says. He also plans to roll out the steakhouse-style options at Hamilton Park and his flagship restaurant, Millwright’s in Simsbury.
Pastry chef Kristin Eddy has created themed desserts for Terreno’s new menu ($9), including a chocolate mousse cake with cranberry gelee and sesame, a brown sugar budino with chocolate hazelnut crunch and tart caramel, and an upside-down citrus cake with cara cara oranges.
THE BAR: The wine list has transitioned from Spanish selections to bottles from Italy and California, with cocktails ($10 to $13) pulling inspiration from each region, as well as twists on classics (Bee’s Knees, Negroni, Sazerac.) Two dollars from each special Hands on Hartford mezcal cocktail, with Aperol, amaro and lime, will be donated to the local nonprofit organization.
DETAILS: Terreno, within The Goodwin Hotel (1 Haynes St., Hartford) is open Monday to Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m. 860-904-3101, terrenorestaurant.com.
The Hartford rebranding comes after a busy 2019 for Anderson and his team. In late June, he and partners A.J. Aurrichio and Tim Cabral, took over the food and beverage operations at The Blake, including Hamilton Park and a rooftop bar, High George. (Anderson says the Terreno menu will reflect about 50 percent of its New Haven sister restaurant’s offerings, as a way to help streamline operations between the two hotel restaurants.)
In October, Anderson, Aurrichio and Dante Cistulli opened Square Peg Pizzeria, a project Anderson called “100 percent fun” with pizzas, red-sauce dishes and arcade games.
Andersonopened his first restaurant, Millwright’s, in 2012. He has been honored as a six-time nominee for a James Beard Foundation award in the Best Chef: Northeast category, and was a contestant on season 15 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”